Westpac Bank shaky, refuses to hand over cash, get your money and run
Letter to the Editor
Today I was told by a friend that there could be some hassle with the banks and there was the chance of a bail-in. As I was in Busselton town when she rang on my mobile, I went to Westpac where I have an account and said to the teller I wanted to draw out $20,000 in cash but if they didn’t have that much, could I please order it and pick up next week.The teller said because of all the scams, she would have to ask me some questions, to which I said OK. She then asked me what I wanted the money for and I said why would you want to know that?
She said because they had lost 6 million dollars replacing scam money from customers and I said well I’m not sending it to an online lover in Africa. She then asked if I was buying a washing machine or some appliance or a car etc and did I have the receipt to show her, and she would give me the cash.
I said I’m not buying anything so there are no receipts, I just want to draw out the money which is my money and my business. She said she would have to go and get the Manager so after about 5 mins back they came – and the Manager showed me a tick list of Q I had to answer. So we start the process again! So I say I just want the money and I’m not buying anything and jokingly said I’m putting it under my bed. The Manager then suggested we go into an office as all this talking had taken place outside the teller’s booth. Once in the office with the door shut, she proceeded to tell me about all the scammers and how a lady had pulled out cash and bought a dodgy caravan etc and I said I am not buying anything, I am not sending the money to anybody, I am putting it in a friend’s business safe. This still wasn’t a right answer to release my cash.
She said I could have a bank cheque and I said no, I wanted the cash. She said I couldn’t have it because of their protocol in place to safeguard their customers, so I said well I’m happy to sign an affidavit to say I won’t come looking for a refund if the money has an accident somewhere. So she then said I would have to talk to one of the guys in the Scammers department and got him on the phone. She spoke to him first and he then asked her for my Medicare Card. Without thinking to say no, I handed it over and she wrote the number down and handed it back. As she had already had my drivers licence, don’t know why they wanted the Medicare card and was cross with myself for refusing to give it as was nothing to do with me wanting to draw money out!!
So we went through the whole thing again and me saying the cash was going in a friend’s business safe wasn’t good enough so in the end I told him what my friend had said about the banks being broke and there could be a bail in so I was playing safe in case this happened. At that he said the banks have plenty of money and asked to be put back to the Manager. They spoke for a few minutes and I said well just give me $5000 then in cash. He apparently said no to her re this, she hung up and said I could take $1000 out from the ATM, but that was all. So I said that means I have to come up here every day for 5 days to get $1000 out each day because you won’t now even give me a lump sum of $5000 cash? (and I live 11kms out of town) She said yes that’s right.
So I got quite vocal and said how disgusting it was and this was Australia for heaven’s sake and it was my money and they had no right to refuse to give it to me. So I said as far as I am concerned, the bank can stick its protocol up its arse and I will close my whole account and take out all the money in it and I want it in 2 cheques and I will be taking this matter further. The Manager typed all my complaints which was sent to HO Complaints Dept – she said they wouldn’t be contacting me but they held round table conferences re all the complaints and discussed how they could improve. We then moved to the teller and she organised my 2 cheques which I then deposited in 2 different banks where I have accounts.
I am sending this around as a warning to others. Maybe I played it wrong and should have just gone in and withdrawn $5000 today and done it again 3 times next week so that I flew under their radar.
from Jill Ilott, Abbey, Western Australia (80 years old)
We have received a torrent of similar complaints since we published the first story about Westpac. Perhaps the bank has started to remove cash from circulation before the Liberal/Labor coalition makes it compulsory?