More Westpac stuff-ups

21 06 2013

I’m convinced that Westpac has it in for us… or they are just bloody incompetent. Thanks goodness for our contact at Westpac otherwise I would’ve have torn my hair out in sheer frustration trying to get this mess sorted.

See these blog posts for how they’ve stuffed up previous house/land purchases/sales:

And they’ve done it again.

We recently sold an investment property we’ve had for 18 years. It settled (closed) yesterday (Thursday). In the documentation I’d given to the bank and the settlement agent, the instructions were clear:

  1. Pay out and close a small loan with a line of credit facility (balance owing was less than $5000); let’s call this Account A (#285 below)
  2. Put the remainder into our savings account; let’s call this Account B (#286 below).
  3. Decrease the line of credit limits against two other loans; I’ll call them Accounts C (#969) and D (#332).

Simple, right? Not so much…

I logged into the Westpac online banking system this morning and this is what I saw:

westpac

Instead of paying out the Account A loan and putting the remainder into Account B, they paid out Account A and put the balance as a credit in Account A! Account A is a loan/mortgage account, not a savings account, and as the bank has our money for three business days before releasing it, I won’t be able to access it until probably next Tuesday. Even then, I don’t know how hard it will be to get the money out of that account in full as it’s not a savings account.

Meantime, the lines of credit on ALL the loans are zero balance. WTF? That means I can’t access any of those funds. Normally I wouldn’t want to, but as we’ve sold that house and as capital gains tax will be incurred on the sale this financial year and as the financial year ends on June 30, and as our accountant and financial adviser both advised putting the maximum allowable ($25,000) into my husband’s Superannuation account THIS financial year to minimise his capital gains tax, and as I have very few business days in which I can do that, AND as I have to travel 50 km to the bank to make this transfer because I can’t do it electronically owing to the bank’s electronic withdrawal limits, and as I can only do this on a Friday or Monday, and as next Friday is too late to meet the end of this financial year, I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. I didn’t transfer that money from one of the line of credit loans prior to settlement, just in case anything went wrong and the sale fell through. And now that settlement has occurred later than planned, and the bank has frozen the lines of credit for at least three business days while they adjust the limit, I can’t access the $25K and get it into his Super on time.

I emailed and called my banking contact person first thing this morning to find out what was going on and why I couldn’t access the lines of credit (I knew I couldn’t access the sale funds for three business days). She was brilliant as usual, and has been on the phone to the head office several times today to get an escalation happening.

The bottom line is that the bank freezes the lines of credit on the loans for THREE business days while they adjust the limit downwards. WTF? THREE business days???? To change a figure electronically? Come on!

So my bank contact — who doesn’t trust that it will all happen in time either (and she works for them!) — is currently arranging a temporary overdraft on our savings account so that I can transfer $25K into my husband’s Super account on Monday, and then pay it back once the sale funds become available. She said she will make sure the bank refunds any overdraft charges we incur as a result, so we shouldn’t be out of pocket.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time and worry on this, and she’s spent at least as much. All because someone somewhere didn’t read the instructions, and, if they weren’t sure about those instructions, didn’t make a phone call to me to check where I wanted the funds to go. My name and phone number is on ALL this documentation, so picking up the phone and making a call would’ve saved us all several hours of chasing up the bank — time that my bank lady and I would rather have spent today doing something else that was far more productive.

Sheer bloody incompetence, in my opinion. And it’s not an isolated instance either.

Update Monday 24 June 2013: Still no funds through, not even the ‘expedited’ overdraft facility. So I emailed my bank contact at 8:15 am, not expecting an answer from her until the bank opened at 9:30. However, she was on the phone to me within two minutes, and had just then transferred $25K into our savings account and will deal with any consequences with her bosses later. THANK YOU Tracy!

Update later Monday 24 June 2013: I went into town to a Westpac branch, where I handed over all the details to transfer the money into my husband’s Super fund account at BankWest. I knew there would be a charge ($25?), and the teller said it would take up to 48 hours. 48 hours to do an electronic bank to bank transfer??? WTF? What games do these guys play with our money in the interim??

Anyhoo… she tried to enter his code but their system only accepts up to seven numbers, not the 12 digit alphanumeric code for my husband’s account. WTF? So she suggested a brilliant strategy. How about she gave me the $25K in cash, and I walked next door to the BankWest branch and deposited it directly? No fee, no 48-hour transfer delay. Sounded like a good plan to me 😉 So she gave me five bundles of 100x $50 notes (no, I’ve never handled so much cash in my life before either) in a calico bag, and I walked out of the branch and literally next door to BankWest, where they happily accepted my money and were able to key in the alphanumeric code without a problem.

 


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