Friday, August 30, 2002

TO: Letters Editor, Courier Mail

Dear Sir,

The Bank of Queensland in its advertising claims that it puts people first. Ha! Ha!
They have now adopted the cheapskate and very inconvenient practice of printing their cheque A/c statements on both sides. They clearly put pennypinching first, not people. I asked if we could have the option of returning to the old single-sided statements but “No” was the answer.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Reply from Ms Heffernan

In response to your request that we give customers a choice of how many sides of their statement they want their transactions printed on I advise that we do not currently plan to provide this facility and I am not aware of any financial institution in Australia currently offering this service. As I said in my email of 9 August we will continue to listen to what our customers say about this change and make modifications when representative of customer feedback. That is, if we receive sufficient feedback indicating that we should print transaction details on only one side of our statement pages we will change back to that approach. In relation to item 3 of your email of 1 August, I did not realise that this was an outstanding matter between us. I passed on your feedback concerning your experience with the Queen Street branch staff to the Regional Manager and I apologise for not having advised you of this. Dr Ray, if I can be of any further assistance to you please do not hesitate to contact me.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

Dear Ms Heffernan

Thank you for your comprehensive response, which I find generally reasonable.

I STILL however am exceedingly cheesed off by your cheapskate procedure of printing statements both sides. The idea that all customers should keep their statements in a ring-binder is just so incredibly authoritarian. I don't. And your new statements are a real pest to me. You remind me of Joe Stalin saying that there is complete freedom of speech in Russia as long as you agree with him. People are all DIFFERENT, you know: There is no Commo uniformity in Queensland. Could you not at least give customers an option of how many sides they want printed? I will definitely raise this at the next AGM if you do not.

Friday, August 9, 2002

From: To:

I refer to your recent correspondence. Firstly thank you for your feedback
and suggestions, it is important that we stay in touch with the views and
experiences of our customers and shareholders.

1. Linking of Bankcard account for Internet Banking

I agree that providing a total view of a customer's banking facilities
including credit cards would solve the issue. Currently credit card details
are held in a separate system however there are ways in which the fact that
a customer holds a credit card be held in the main banking system by
linking the card details to a transaction or savings account. It is
actually timely that you raise this as we about to reissue these procedures
to staff as recent events, including your feedback, have indicated this
procedure is not as well understood as it should be.

2. Length of account number to log onto internet

Bank of Queensland Customer Access Number is 10 digits (including the 3
leading zeros which are optional for entry). In banking these numbers can
range anywhere between 8 to 16 digits. Whilst the terms and conditions
require that the security of the Personal Access Code be safeguarded they
do not prohibit customers from writing down their Customer Access Number.
Customers are free to select their own Personal Access codes provided that
this meets minimum security requirements. I have been unable to locate any
bank which allows customers to select their own account number or name.

There are a number of reasons why I think that this would not work in a
banking environment:

. the customer selected name approach does not allow customers to change
their account number once they have made their initial selection. For
example, Hotmail do not allow customers to change their sign in name once
it has been selected. If you wish to change your name you have to close all
your accounts. Unlike Hotmail, banking practice would dictate that we can
not use this discarded number immediately.

.the customer selected name approach requires a large set of available
codes. For example, Hotmail are required to support up to 64 digit account
numbers for their customers. There currently isn't any banking software
available that I am aware of to support this approach.

3. Exiguous Bankcard Particulars

I agree with you that the current level of Bankcard particulars available
is not optimal. Ideally we would like to be able to provide up to 120 days
of transaction information as we do for other accounts however our card
system is not currently configured to enable this. This is one of the many
enhancements and improvements that we will make over time to our Internet
Banking service. A continuing balance facility is also in this category. We
already provide a current balance facility on the Transaction History page.

4. New Look BOQ statement

We were not trying to inconvenience our customers - our objective was to
modernise and update the look and feel of our statements. In addition where
statement details would have generated a second individual sheet the
details are printed on the statement reverse in a manner consistent with
filing in a two ringed statement binder. This is a reasonably common
approach in the industry.

Dr Ray, you are right when you say that we advertise the fact that we are
customer friendly but I would disagree with your view that this is a lie.
What being customer friendly means to us at the Bank of Queensland is that
we may not always get it right but we listen to our customers, are
respective of their views and that we try to meet their needs to the best
of our ability and the resources available to us . Inevitably we can not be
all things to all customers and I regret that you have such a negative
impression of our statement initiative. All I can say is that we will
continue to listen to what our customers say to us about this change and
make modifications when representative of customer feedback.

Once again thank you for writing to me and do not hesitate to contact me
with any further suggestions or feedback

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Tran history

Ms Heffernan

The online transaction history that you give for a bankcard A/c is pretty exiguous. Could you not at least give an opening balance as well as a current balance? Pretty elementary, I would have thought.

Monday, August 5, 2002

New statement

Dear Ms Heffernan

I cannot believe it! I have just got my first “new look” BOQ cheque A/c statement with half the transactions printed on the back. Are you deliberately TRYING to inconvenience your customers? I will have to raise this at the BOQ AGM if you persist with it. What the h*** were you thinking of when you came up with that lulu?

It makes a total mockery of your advertising that you are customer friendly. Or are you a believer in the Goebbels “big lie” technique -- that what you say can be the opposite of the truth as long as you say it loudly enough? How about changing your advertising to read: “We cut all possible corners regardless of customer convenience”? That would be a more accurate reflection of your orientation as far as I can see.

It is of a piece with your ridiculous assertion that you do not need to have running balances in your online statements because they are not really statements. Technically correct, perhaps, but hardly customer-oriented.

Friday, August 2, 2002

Dear Ms Heffernan,

Thank you for your reply. I am glad you have given consideration to the matters I raised and will just about leave it at that.

As a Bank of Qld shareholder, however, I have a vested interest in seeing the bank run intelligently so I will leave you with a few more small suggestions which could, I believe, help.

1. For a start, I was glad to see on my visit to your Queen St branch today that the safety deposit area was secured by use of the steel vault door. You obviously have listened to my concerns in that matter. Having a foot-thick steel door left ajar all day certainly looked like a third-world level of care.

2. Your counter staffer DID TRY to link my Bankcard A/c to my net facility. Finding out why her attempt failed is surely worth investigating. I have observed in the past that counter staff always have difficulty tracing a bankcard that is used to provide a line of credit for a cheque a/c. One would have thought that this information would be shown as part of the cheque A/c details but obviously it is not. Remedying that would probably fix the internet linking problem too.

3. I wrote to the bank earlier on about the warding key debacle in the safety deposit area at your Queen st branch. I could not understand why a spare warding key could not have been used to replace the "broken" one. The explanation I got from branch staff was a farrago of nonsense and the explanation I got in response to my written enquiry was no better. I did however today discuss the matter with your locksmith and he made sense. As there seems to be a continuing problem in this area, may I suggest that you arrange for the locksmith to answer future queries about the matter? Your staff are certainly not up to it.

4. Like other banks, you ask people to use a long account number to log on to your internet facility. How do you think people remember these long numbers? They don't. They write it on a piece of paper somewhere near their computer. That is asking for trouble. You are encouraging and facilitating fraud by making people use these long numbers.

So be a devil and set the pace to reform of this most unsatisfactory situation. Allow people to choose their own identifying name or number -- like most internet sites do. If so many non-bank sites do it, it cannot be too difficult.

Thursday, August 1, 2002

From:, To:

Dear Dr Ray,

I refer to your email of 31st July, in which you raised four issues and I
address each of these below:

1. "I know of NO paper bank statement that omits running balances. If
you want to wean your customers off paper and get them on to the net
instead, you are hardly going to do it by offering REDUCED service. You
should be offering better service."

The Transaction History function provided within our Internet Banking
service is not a statement. The benefit that this function provides to
our customers is that you can see all transactions on your account,
including transactions made on the same day. This is regardless of
whether the transactions occurred on your account since or before your
last statement was issued.

At Bank of Queensland, we have no plans to migrate customers off the
standard issue statements that we continue to provide free of charge to
all customers residing in Australia. The Transaction History function
provided free as a part of the Internet Banking service does not replace
a statement and you will continue to receive standard issue paper
statements free of charge. Fees apply to non-standard issue statements,
customer statements issued at the branch and statements mailed to
overseas addresses.

We do not provide access to previously issued statements as a part of
our Internet Banking service. As I mentioned in my letter of 29th of
July, "We knew that we would not be able to provide on-line archives of
previously issued statements for some time, so we decided to provide a
minimum of 120 days of transaction history."

2. "If you offer a 'Contact us' facility you should provide it. Doh!"

We do currently provide a 'contact us' facility to our customers. I
understand that you used this service to contact me yesterday. We built
it this way to ensure that anyone, anywhere could contact us, regardless
of whether they were registered for Internet Banking, whether they had
lost their password or whether they were a customer or not.

We are however, looking at a way of extending this feature of our
website to customers who are signed on to Internet Banking. I hope that
we can offer this feature soon.

3. "Backspacing is elementary on the internet. Get with it!"

All Australian banks, except for one have disabled the browser 'Back'
button. The bank which does not disable the 'Back' button instead
displays a 'Page Expired' message, signs the customer out and asks them
to log in again. The reason why Bank of Queensland and other banks
disable the 'Back' button is that using it causes the link established
between the browser page and the Bank's back-end systems to disconnect.
This link, referred to technically as session management, is an
extremely important part of how we ensure secure transactions can occur.

When you are using Internet Banking, electronic links are established
and exchanged between the bank's systems and your browser. Given the
technology of the browser and the internet, the use of the back button
re-sends a previously issued set of codes that appear to the bank's
systems to be an unauthorised attempt to duplicate a valid session.
Therefore, no Australian bank allows the use of the 'Back' button.

However, as I understood from your letter dated 15th July you were
actually looking for a way to look at a previously displayed transaction
history page. As I stated in my letter dated 19th July, we will look at
providing this functionality should we receive regular requests from
other customers for the same functionality. Obviously, those requests
that we receive more frequently will be looked at with higher priority.

4. "I am once again amazed that I had to write to your chairman to get my
Bankcard statement online. Is that the only way customers can get it done?
Have you done anything to check why the branch did not carry out this
simple request?"

I don't believe that our customers need to write to the Chairman to
organise simple requests like this. I am very pleased that you are the
only customer who has felt that he needed to write to the Chairman about
our Internet Banking service. I have spoken to the branch manager
regarding the matter and she has assured me that you have never spoken
to her regarding the matter, or written or phoned her regarding the

As we did not receive a written request from your to add your Bankcard
to your Internet Banking profile, I can only assume that you have made a
verbal request to a staff member who has not acted on that request. I
apologise for this having occurred.

The branch manager has assured me that you can talk to her any time
should you have any issues, concerns or questions regarding the service
provided by her staff. Her name is Lisa Brien and her phone number is
3397 1527. Please feel free to visit Lisa in person, phone or write to
her regarding any issues, concerns or questions that you may have. Our
branch managers are there to help our customers and meet their needs

We want you to feel that banking with the Bank of Queensland means great
personal service and value for money. I hope that I have helped with your
concerns and I thank you for banking with us for more than seventeen years.

Jennifer Heffernan
General Manager