problems fixed

Customer Advocates

While banks try to get it right all of the time, in reality that’s not always going to happen. So when a customer has a complaint, we want to make it easier to get it resolved.

All banks are introducing a new customer advocate role to help them handle complaints better, improve customer experience, and minimise the likelihood of future problems. The customer advocate will be able to ensure the bank better understands where the customer is coming from, and have the power to escalate issues to the CEO if they think the bank isn’t resolving issues properly.

The appointment of customer advocates is an important opportunity to give customers a greater voice when things go wrong and reach fairer outcomes. Banks are in the process of appointing customer advocates, with the four major banks and others already announcing their customer advocates:

  • AMP Group: Melanie Howard-McDonald who reports to Paul Sainsbury, AMP Group Executive Wealth Solutions and Chief Customer Officer.
  • ANZ: Jo McKinstray who reports to Mark Hand, Group Executive Australia Retail and Commercial Banking.
  • Arab Bank Australia: James Gow who reports to Joseph Rizk, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
  • Bank Australia: Fiona Nixon who reports to Rowan Dowland General Manager Corporate Development.
  • Bank of Queensland: Tanya Aaskov who reports to Tanny Mangos, General Manager Corporate Public Affairs & Customer Advocacy.
  • Bendigo and Adelaide Bank / Rural Bank: Leonie Higgs who reports to the Chief Customer Officer, Marnie Baker.
  • Citi: Citi complaints process and frequently asked questions.
  • Commonwealth Bank: Angela MacMillan, CBA Group Customer Advocate.
  • HSBC: Ayela Thilo, reporting to Tony Cripps, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Bank Australia Limited.
  • ING DIRECT: Tim Newman, who reports to Head of Retail Banking, Melanie Evans.
  • Macquarie Bank: Rosalind Persaud, who reports to Shemara Wikramanayake, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
  • ME Bank: Scott Dare who reports to Ingrid Purcell, Chief Experience Officer.
  • MyState Bank: Brent Kelly who reports to Mandakini Khanna, Chief Risk Officer.
  • NAB: Catherine Wolthuizen who reports to the Group Executive, Governance and Reputation and NAB’s Executive Leadership.
  • Rabobank: Monica Assaf who reports to Peter Knoblanche, Managing Director Rabobank Aust. & NZ Group / CEO Rabobank Australia.
  • Suncorp: Matthew Leslie, who reports to Chief Risk Officer Fiona Thompson.
  • Westpac: Adrian Ahern who reports to Christine Parker, Group Executive, Corporate Affairs and Human Resources.

Guiding principles to help banks appoint their customer advocate were published in September 2016 and later revised to reflect feedback about different approaches banks may take when introducing a customer advocate. This includes making sure the function suits the needs of customers and the size and structure of the bank.

The guiding Balustrades Perth principles were also updated to make it clearer that the customer advocate as a minimum covers retail and small business customers.

A copy of the updated guiding principles is available here.

Complaints handling

We’re also working on making sure our complaints handling processes work better and are better understood by our customers. For a step-by-step guide on how to get problems with your bank resolved, download our fact sheet here.

Mr Ian McPhee is independently overseeing this initiative as part of the governance of industry reforms announced in April 2016.

A dilapidation survey is a comprehensive survey carried out to assess the current state of a property. It covers everything from the structural integrity all the way down to land surveys and the fine details of the property. Dilapidation describes the degradation of a building over time and these surveys are designed to ascertain how the building has been affected by general wear and tear.

Dilapidation Survey

What Does A Dilapidation Survey Involve?

A dilapidation survey aims to identify any problems or issues that may affect the structural integrity of a building. However, this type of inspection also looks at various other factors including:

  • The condition of any fixtures and fittings
  • Water damage
  • Roof damage
  • Subterranean problems such as rot, dampness or subsidence

A dilapidation survey typically takes 3-5 days to complete. It can be carried out on an individual room by room basis, but often land surveyors choose to carry out a full property inspection first to get their bearings. Once the scope has been determined then the property will be inspected in every area possible. This inspection is carried out by a team of trained professionals who are able to identify any potential problems or issues with the property. While there are some limitations due to the sheer volume of information, these reports provide one of the most comprehensive overviews of a building available.

The Purpose Of A Dilapidation Survey

Dilapidation surveys are carried out by land surveyors for a variety of reasons including:


  • Homebuyers – Building owners use dilapidations surveys as part of the homebuying process. This type of inspection is extremely useful if you’re buying an older property that you plan on renovating and extending. It enables you to see exactly what work will be required before starting the project, saving you time and money in the long-term.


  • Commercial – Dilapidations surveys are also often used by commercial property owners. For example, landlords may use a dilapidation survey to establish the state of repair of their tenants’ properties ahead of lease renewals. In this instance, the results will help landlords set rental prices that reflect the cost of necessary repairs.


  • Building Surveyors – Dilapidation surveys can also be carried out by building surveyors as part of a larger project. These reports may form part of a refurbishment, restoration or renovation project and building surveyors rely on them to identify any issues with a property that could present problems during construction work.

What Information Is Included In A Dilapidation Survey?

While these reports are primarily designed to assess the current state of a building, they also include various other pieces of information. This includes:

  • Current use and occupation
  • Age and construction materials used to build the structure
  • Size and number of rooms in the property
  • The location of any extensions or outbuildings on site
  • Details about how often repairs have been carried out over time (including when major refurbishment work was last carried out)

An inspection will typically include photographs that illustrate clearly any issues that need to be addressed along with recommendations for what needs doing.

What Action Can Be Taken After A Dilapidation Survey?

The main aim of a dilapidation survey is to provide an overview of the building and pinpoint any potential problems or issues. However, there are only so many areas that can be assessed in such depth and this means that some more specific concerns may not be identified.

By using dilapidation surveys as part of your development process you will minimize risks and ensure that any refurbishment work undertaken is both necessary and appropriate. This type of report gives you a better understanding of the property’s current state and it ensures you’re aware of any potential pitfalls before starting costly renovation projects.

As Surveys cover everything from the structural integrity all the way down to the finest details, these reports give building owners an insight into the overall condition of their property. These reports enable home buyers to assess the value of a particular property more accurately, or they can act as an indicator of what may need doing before starting renovations. Better still, dilapidations surveys provide an objective assessment on areas that may be difficult to see with your own eyes. For example, damp caused by problems in the internal structure which only becomes apparent through visual inspection during building work or renovation projects.

Dilapidation surveys are an essential tool for land surveyors, landlords, developers, and homeowners that need a comprehensive picture of the state of their property.