Graeme Coughlan from Taumarunui was left scratching his head when he tried to cash up his Bonus Bonds.
ANZ is shutting down the Bonus Bonds fund, which topped $3.3 billion at the start of August, saying post-Covid low interest rates meant the scheme could no longer function as intended.
Since the announcement in late August that the Bonus Bonds fund would be closing, around $2.1 billion has been redeemed by around 180,000 customers, indicating those with higher balances moved fast to secure their money, with the remaining $1.2b in Bonus Bonds held by just over one million people.
But Coughlan, who prefers not to say how many Bonus Bonds he had, put in a request before the last prize draw on October 13 to have his bonds redeemed immediately after, giving him one last shot of winning the $1 million top prize.
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But when the money didn’t arrive in his bank account, and his Bonus Bonds account appeared to show there were no Bonus Bonds left to redeem, Coughlan became concerned.
He struggled to get through to the bank, and he lives in a town without an ANZ branch.
”What concerns me is my money should be in my bank account, or the Bonus Bonds account,” said Coughlan on October 22.
ANZ launched an immediate hunt for his money, and found it was still in the Bonus Bonds fund, but that Coughlan’s request had been put into the wrong redemption queue, and his money was due to be paid him at the start of November, as opposed to several days after the last draw.
Coughlan was left with the impression that ANZ was struggling to deal with the vast number of contacts from Bond Bond holders seeking their money back.
In frustration, he even rang the Banking Ombudsman, which is a scheme that handles complaints about banks.
Coughlan said: “I asked the Banking Ombudsman, but they said, ‘We understand they are very busy’, and gave me the 0800 number, but when I rang it, there was a busy tone.”
Coughlan felt that was not professional. “They’re a bank. They’re supposed to be good at these things,” he said.
ANZ spokesman Stefan Herrick said: “Requests for redemptions have been heavy, but we’ve put extra people into making sure bondholders are paid out as quickly as possible.
“Currently, we’re processing standard redemptions from October 20, but more complicated redemptions (involving deceased estates, etc) are taking a bit longer.”
People with Bonus Bonds have only a few more days to ask for their money back before ANZ began winding the scheme up, which would delay the return of their money.
“The ANZ Investment Services [the ANZ subsidiary which looks after Bonus Bonds] board intend to begin winding up the scheme no later than 31 October,” Herrick said.
“At this stage we’re in a strong position to pay redemptions, and all valid redemption requests received by us before the scheme moves to a wind up will be paid out,” he said.