Thursday, June 14, 2012


After sending an email to the Westpac head office PR machine , again drawing the attention of the bank’s CEO ,Gail Kelly, to the state of the shabby Casuarina branch , Little Darwin has received what passes for a reply in PR terms . It raises more questions about one of Australia’s big four banks. Westpac Regional General Manager , Northern Territory , Suzi Hullick, said “ we” ( the Royal we seems to be in vogue after all the heady celebrations in London ) are fully aware of the issues and the state of the branch. She had even been visiting the branch fortnightly as part of plans for a more permanent solution. Funds had been allocated to refurbish the branch “some months ago”. Unfortunately, there had been “some challenges with contactors and our obligations in terms of our lease.”

Her email went on to say had provided some valuable “customer feedback”. Shucks ! The bank was working through this as a matter of urgency . "I am positive of some action in coming months."

That Westpac is still dithering around , hoping for some remedial action as"a matter of urgency" in coming months when the Third World look has been extant for many months makes you wonder.

For a piddling amount, the spew/urine /Bombay Belly splash patterns etched into the footpath outside the main entrance could be washed away ; the customer chairs with plastic missing from the armrests and corroding metal showing through could be replaced by whipping out to Harvey Norman and buying replacements ; a signwriter could do a quick replacement for the large one at the reception desk from which letters are missing ; the well worn punch and stapler could be donated to A.G. Sims and turned into razor blades in Korea. Little Darwin could arrange this in one day without a board meeting or having to ring a call centre in Zimbabwe. No major refurbishment, just a bit of easy, prompt action .

Little Darwin cheekily asked if Gail Kelly was related to Ned , but received no reply . Ms Kelly attended the Business Summit in Brisbane at which the business community was urged by PM Julia Gillard to speak up for the Australian economy, show that the economy is strong . The economy does not look too flash when you judge it on the shabby appearance of the Casuarina Westpac branch , which portrays an image more like downtown Athens .The long running rundown state gives the impression that customers are being treated a la Goldman Sachs-as Muppets–and even ,God forbid, that Westpac is complacent like JPMorgan , who just dropped a cool 2 billion, for which they are sorry . Anybody for putting their dosh under the mattress ?

An angry bank customer, on being told of the Westpac response asks : How long does it take to connect a hose ? She ,too, is affronted by the shabby state of the Casuarina banking precinct. Recently she drew the attention of the staff at the SAO biscuit dipped in Vegemite to the growing constant litter and rubbish , with an occasional garnish of junk food glued to the pavement, near its ATM. Like Westpac, there has been zero base points response at the Commonwealth, and she is on the warpath . UPCOMING: A series on banks which have come close to bringing on another Depression.