Ross Greenwood speaks to CBA spokesperson Danny John as there are major technical issues affecting the Commonwealth Bank and millions of customers around Australia.
Ross Greenwood: Go now to those issues at the Commonwealth Bank today. Find out exactly what the update is, when some of those services will come back online. The group head of Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Bank is Danny John, who is on the line right now. Danny, many thanks for your time. Just exactly where we’re up to with trying to restore the services for your customers?
Interview with: Danny John, Spokesperson, CBA
Danny John: Evening, Ross. Yes, at the moment, we’re working hard to make sure we bring those services up as soon as possible. We don’t have a time at the moment. Our major focus now is to make sure those services come back. We’re looking at in the next few hours, particularly maybe into the early hours. We’re just asking our customers to bear with us. We’re really sorry for this inconvenience in terms of it because we know it’s caused a few problems out there, but we’re working hard to make sure we bring them up as soon as possible.
Ross Greenwood: Okay. Let’s just break down exactly what are the services that are working and which are the ones that are not working. Let’s start with the services that Commonwealth Bank customers can still use right now.
Danny John: At the moment, if you’re going to an ATM, for instance, you can get cash out EFTPOS, that means you can use the terminals, the merchant services, your credit cards, your debit cards. As far as those payments and getting cash and things from there; obviously, we did have an impact on some of our branches today, which had to be closed earlier than normal. Of course, the network is now sharp for the day. As far as actually making payments through that normal process in terms of your debit and credit cards, that’s okay. We have had problems through the app and through NetBank in terms of BPay, PayID services. Some people can’t get cardless cash. There’s no doubt there has been an impact, but there’s still ways of actually making payments and getting cash out.
Ross Greenwood: Okay. Just explain why was it that those branches were closed today. How many of them do you estimate were closed?
Denny: There was a few dozen around the country. Some of those were just on the basis that they may not have had access to process payments. It was probably better to actually either say to people, don’t use the ATM because the branches weren’t actually online and can’t process it. In regards to avoiding the frustration of people queuing up and then finding out they couldn’t make those payments, so that did affect them for two or three hours, and of course, as I said that they are now closed.
We just made sure that it was probably best to say to people straight off, “You can’t use the branch at this moment.” Predominantly most of the branch network was working, but there was a number that will impact it.
Ross Greenwood: Was it any geographical area that was especially affected?
Danny John: Not any particular special area. There were branches around the country, but it was, you might say, patchy. Nonetheless, for those customers who are affected, it’s still annoying, it’s still an inconvenience. I think in a way that just to say that they may have been areas effected. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who were affected or where they were affected, they were still affected, and that does create inconvenience, and it does cause angst. We understand that and we seriously apologize for that inconvenience.
Ross Greenwood: Just one other aspect of this. I know that call centers were blocked up as well. Was this largely customers really almost overrunning those call centers as they were trying to get in touch? Or was it actually that some of the services inside those call centers also went down?
Danny John: There was an impact on the services in the call centers. You’re absolutely right. When we get issues like this, people understandably want to talk to somebody. Of course, as soon as that happens, the call centers get a lot of calls coming through, that means that wait times get longer, that does, of course, lead to frustration. The call centers were dealing with a lot of customers ringing up, trying to find out what was happening if they could make a payment and things like that. That understandably slowed things down. Of course, that then creates a knock-on effect, where people then get frustrated.
Again, our apologies for that because it does cause problems, particularly when we’re trying to get information out. We’ve been sending information out to social media. We sent a letter out to customers this afternoon. We know that around about 800,000 people have opened that letter for that reason. Of course, if people want to know the updates, we’re putting out information on commbank.com.au/info. People need to go out for that. Keep an eye on those messages, and how can we
Ross Greenwood: Of course, your Facebook and Twitter pages that have actually done a lot of the work on this during the day if people can access that. One final thing for you. I noticed that you said teams are working urgently to address an issue with your network. Have they started to pinpoint exactly where the cause of these outages within your network?
Danny John: Yes, they are. We’re getting closer and closer to that. I think at this moment in time, we don’t have the absolute answer to when we will bring the services up, but rest assured we’re working really hard to bring them up as soon as we can.
Ross:: Danny John, bright every time, and also just had explanation on the program this evening. That information just helps a lot of people out, no doubt. Danny, the group head of Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Bank, we appreciate your time this evening.
Danny John: All right, Ross.
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