Australia’s top five banks may have collectively netted more than $16 billion in profits over the past year but they are still inclined to suffer human and technological error.

NAB, as you all know, reaped the greatest profit levels of the top five banks to suggest there is light at the end of the tunnel after its forex scandal and the subsequent regulator and media probing it has been forced to endure over the past two years.
Other banks have not been impervious to similar, albeit less-sinister issues this year, with Westpac having to cough up more than $40 million for dropping the baton on two separate occasions.

Up to 40,000 Westpac Premier Advantage Package (PAP) customers will receive an average of $200 each after the banking giant realized they had been overlooked in receiving various discounts that should have been given to them after signing up to a special mortgage offer.

The discounts were in the form of waived fees on two types of bank account and credit cards along with a discount on a fees relating to a personal loan.

The bank also had to explain a credit card accounting error last week that cost it $34 million, which the bank’s head David Morgan labeled a “very annoying mistake”.

The PAP issue was a technological malfunction, while the credit card matter was a mixture of human error and technology misfiring.

With the banking major’s in Australia now in a head-to-head battle to woo and keep clients by offering better customer service (as it allows for more cross selling opportunities), it seems avoiding mistakes like these that can impact on thousands of customers in one instant should be a key focus of the banks.

For instance, the work to be done by the more than 500 new customer service specialists the Commonwealth Bank has taken on could be undone straight away if a single human error or technological glitch is able to over-charge or mis-price to thousands of banking customers.

In such a competitive customer centric environment, mistakes such as the ones at Westpac may not be labeled quite so mildly in future as Dr. Morgan termed the $30-odd million Westpac credit card bungle above.

From burningpants

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