THOUSANDS of Hunter bank customershave gone without pay since Monday because of what’s being described by the financial institutionsas an “issue with one of our suppliers”.
Customers of the Greater Bank,Newcastle Permanent and Maitland Mutual have all been hit by the outage, which began on Monday and is affecting well over 30,000 customers in the Hunter.
The outage –which has also affected banks outside of the Hunter –has meant that thousands of customers with the banks have been unable to access pay, receive Centrelink payments, or make or receive direct debits.
The problem, according to the banks, is an issue with a third-party company called FirstData, or FDI, that processes payments between financial institutions.
Greater Bank chief executive Scott Morgan said he was aware theissue “has caused inconvenience for some of our customers and we thank them for their patience and understanding”.
“Payments started to come through [Tuesday] night,” he said.
“We are pursuing the payment provider to resolve remaining payment issues as quickly as possible.
“We added additional staff and longer hours in our customer contact centre to assist customers.
“If customers have urgent issues we ask them to please call 1300 651 400 or direct message us their details on social media and we will work though options with them.”
Greater said that about 2 per cent of its customers –or about 5000 people –had been affected by the outage.
FirstData has been contact for comment.
On Sunday the Newcastle Permanent told customers that a “supplier”had scheduledmaintenance work “early tomorrow morning”, meaningsome ATM and EFTPOS services would beunavailable between 2am and 6am.
ABC’s The Checkout explains why bank transfers take so long. Newcastle Permanent said about 28,000 of its members, or 8 per cent of the total customer base, had been impacted by the issue.
The bank’s chief executive, Terry Millett,said that transactions for Tuesday hadbeen completed and that FirstData were“working to supply transaction files with credit anddebit files from Monday at the moment.”
“We realise the difficulty some members are having in not recieving wages and payments, and yet they have payments they need to make,” he said.
“What we’re saying is if you’re in a difficult position please contact us.”
But on social media thebanks have been inundated with complaints from customers who say they’ve been unable to access their accounts, and have yet to receive pay.
“It’s become more a matter of emergency than urgency …[I] was meant to be paid [two]days ago with car rego due tomorrow!” one customer wrote on Newcastle Permanent’sFacebook.
“This isn’t acceptable Greater. People live week to week by their pays and for it not to be there when expected really screws a lot of people around,” another wrote on the Greater’s page.
“Forget about direct debits what about those who need that money to pay their bills and put groceries in their house?”
On Monday the Greater told customers the bank was“currently experiencing difficulties with direct debits and direct credit payments due to an issue with one of our suppliers”.
On Tuesday the bank stated they were “still working to resolve the issue with yesterday’s payments”.
“This problem is affecting many banks and their customers. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience this has caused,” the bank said.
Newcastle Permanent also said the problem was because of “an outage with one of our suppliers” that had“caused problems with customers’ transfers and payments made in the past two days”.
By Tuesday morning the bank was saying that“payments from yesterday afternoon and overnight have been processed successfully, but we’re still working to resolve the issue with the payments from Monday that were affected”.
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