Key Law shut because ANZ Bank lost legal trust accounts
The real reason ANZ Bank pulled the plug on its cut-rate conveyancing joint venture Key Law was because 54 law firms switched their trust accounts from the bank and it wanted to stop the haemorrhaging, legal sources say.
Friday, September 21st 2001, 10:53AM
by Jenny Ruth
The bank’s official reason for winding up the venture with it, the Public Trust and Key Law principal Philip Alexander-Crawford after just a year was that "the alliance members had developed different perspectives as to the best ways of delivering low cost services to homebuyers."
This was even though the service had provided "significant savings" for ANZ Bank customers,
The service was offered to ANZ Bank mortgage customers nationally with the Public Trust providing support services including document witnessing.
"The ANZ charges us for the privilege of using it and then it comes out in competition to us," says one lawyer whose firm switched its account. "Why should we give an institution business when it’s competing against us, as we took it, unfairly," he says.
ANZ Bank spokesman Mark Thomas says this wasn’t the reason Key Law was closed, but concedes that the bank did lose a lot of solicitors’ trust accounts.
"Obviously any customer leaving us is a cause of considerable concern. We certainly didn’t do a good enough job by our solicitor customers when we launched Key Law," Thomas says.
"We should have discussed it in more detail with them. Many of them left just entirely because they felt ANZ hadn’t respected the relationship."
The bank is now talking to the customers
it lost in an effort to win them back, he says. "Many of
them had very good relationships (with ANZ) before that."
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