Removing the uncertainty for staff and customers the key to successfully bringing the curtain down on National Bank brand, David Hisco says

Removing the uncertainty for staff and customers the key to successfully bringing the curtain down on National Bank brand, David Hisco says

By Gareth Vaughan

The key for ANZ New Zealand to successfully put the National Bank brand out to pasture is removing uncertainties for both customers and staff, CEO David Hisco says.

Hisco told interest.co.nz that, in their preparation to phase the National Bank brand out over the next two years, ANZ NZ staff have looked closely at how things were done in a range of banking mergers around the world, and closer to home, at what happened after ANZ bought PostBank from the government in 1989, and when Westpac bought Trust Bank in 1996.

He said ANZ, now implementing the final rites of its National Bank takeover nine years after it bought the bank from Britain's Lloyds TSB, is doing things quite differently to what happened with the PostBank and Trust Bank takeovers.

"The first thing I'd say is that if you work for Trust Bank you wake up one morning and you read the paper and you find out that you've got a new employer. You don't know whether you've got your job, you don't know what's happening in your town," Hisco said. "Basically you just don't know anything."

"If I give you an example of what has happened here, we've had the same management structure for two years, and when we made the announcement all the people in the branches were consulted that evening and were advised that all of their jobs were safe. All the people they work for they know, there's no changes in management. And then they were told what was happening to their branch, what sort of refurbishment they'd get, or if they were moving up the road with the other team."

"We wanted to remove uncertainties. Same for the customers," said Hisco.

"For the most part our customers we've spoken to are only interested in 'do I have to do anything different, are you (the staff they're familiar with) leaving?' And the answer to those two questions is the right answer to what they want to hear. So we hope that we can grow our market share."

Speaking on Friday two days after the phase out of the National Bank brand was confirmed, Hisco said he had received more than 100 emails from staff nationwide saying how good the preparation for the switch to one core banking system - due to take place at the end of the month - and culling of the National Bank brand had been.

"We've been having teleconference calls for our staff to dial in and ask questions and they've been more (dominated by) comments about how things are going. It's going pretty smoothly, it's only early days, but the biggest thing is removing the uncertainty and let the people know that their jobs are safe. And once you've done that, you can get on with business," said Hisco.

Because customers don't have to do anything, Hisco maintains the changes are really "a bit of a non-event" for them, with the majority of them understanding this.

"For me I'm very happy we've been able to do this and guarantee that our front line people can still go into work tomorrow. I think that's important," Hisco added.

"The outcome of all of that will probably take two or three years to feed through and I really hope that I'm still here in the chair and can see it and that it's successful at the end."

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