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Friday, 03 December 2010 15:22

NAB racks up another set of bad numbers


It may be nine days since NAB endured a systems failure, leaving thousands of angry customers without funds last weekend, but the bank is still counting the cost - and now also has to deal with the ignominy of being ranked as a below average performer in terms of its online banking service.

Releasing the Gomez Australian Banking and Insurance Industry Benchmarks today, CompuWare reported that both NAB's and subsidiary UBank's online response times for the month to 1 December 2010 were below the banking industry average.  Response times for the sector's fastest website - Westpac's - were more than 11 times faster than NAB's.

It is quite possible that during the last ten days the web site has been even slower than that month average figure with the bank battling extraordinary levels of web traffic as customers flooded online to determine the status of their payments and accounts.  It in fact regularly published apologies regarding the slow performance of its online site during the debacle.

Earlier this afternoon the bank issued a statement noting that; 'The majority of customer payments and transactions have been completed and most account balances are now up-to-date. Some customers may still be experiencing inconsistencies, and NAB is working to address this issue as soon as possible, and there is no action that customers need to take.'

NAB however has plenty of action still needed in addition to a systemic review to ensure that the bungle that led to the systems failure cannot be repeated. It certainly needs to tune up its online performance.

Even in June, when the first Gomez banking benchmark was released Westpac was leader of the field with NAB the slowest of the four major banks.

Slow response times alone are enough to encourage customer churn according to Aberdeen Group research which has found that the a one second delay in response time for web users led to a 16 per cent drop in customer satisfaction.

The Gomez Australian Banking and Insurance Industry Benchmarks tracks three ratings; response time, availability and consistency (which tracks the standard deviation in response times).

The response time rating indicates the best possible response time that customers can expect, and measures the time elapsed while downloading a page, including all embedded objects, Java Scripting and cascading style sheets.

It is calculated as the average access time for a website measured from the backbone of the Gomez Global Performance Network in Australia, based on 48 access attempts per day over a one month period.  For the month to 1 December Westpac performed best with 0.274 seconds.

NAB meanwhile was ranked a sluggish 3.21 seconds, and its online- only bank UBank was even worse at 3.329 seconds.

To put that in perspective the bank's response time was worse than the top 16 online retailers in Australia and it was only marginally faster than Officeworks' web site.

The availability rating is the percentage of access attempts that were successful. While Westpac, ANZ and CBA all scored perfect 100 per cent figures for the month, NAB's copybook was blotted with 99.91 per cent availability.

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