A Queensland dad is outraged after a bank blunder left him $375,000 in debt and unable to access his funds during the festive period.
Aaron* was forced to liquidate his cryptocurrency portfolio, take out business loans and even use his daughter’s money to pay his staff wages.
His NAB account, which had more than $108,000 of his own money sitting in it, became overdrawn because of the bank error and he wasn’t able to withdraw a single cent for nearly two weeks.
The Hervey Bay man was also unable to resolve the problem until news.com.au stepped in due to NAB’s office shut down period and multiple public holidays which impacted their ability to assign him a case officer.
“I’ve had to redraw my home loan, sell some crypto assets, borrowed money from other businesses I run, even borrowed money from my 8-year-old daughter, just to pay wages,” Aaron, 41, told news.com.au.
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Aaron runs his own business and needed to scrounge enough money together for a $38,000 weekly pay run to his 12 employees.
“I needed access to the funds over the Christmas period,” the dad-of-one said.
“With all the public holidays, these two weeks have been the highest amount this year (for wages), it’s a 30 to 40 per cent increase in a week.”
He gained about $8000 from selling some of his cryptocurrency assets.
The dad then cleaned out his 8-year-old daughter’s bank account, which had about $4000 in there from Christmas money, payments he had put into it and also his daughter collecting recyclable cans and getting cash back for it.
The rest of the money he got from taking out a business loan.
However, it left him concerned about what he would do the next week with another pay run due the following week.
When he explained the situation to some of his workers, they offered to go a week without pay and for him to give it to them when he could. However, to him, this was not an option.
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The overdrawn account has also left the dad in an “embarrassing” situation.
To ensure he had enough funds to pay his staff for the following week, he raced to change his bank details to clients so that they would deposit invoices into a new account.
However, many thought he had been hacked and he ended up having to explain to them his previous account was overdrawn.
“I’ve copped enough embarrassment,” Aaron explained. “I’ve had to tell clients, they think it’s a scam, they’re ringing to ask why are we changing our bank account on New Year’s Eve.”
The Queenslander also fell behind repayments for a Tesla car he had bought for his partner around Christmas time, which meant he flew to Brisbane to pick it up but was unable to do so.
“I was unable to make the final payment, that led to a bit of embarrassment, we’ve now scheduled to pick it up later this month.”
Aaron noticed the $375,000 discrepancy right before Christmas and was “shocked” when he saw it.
“It was shocking,” he said. “I initially just put it down to the fact that mistakes can happen, I thought it would fix itself overnight.”
When his account was still hundreds of thousands of dollars in arrears the next morning, he waited on the phone for several hours to speak to a NAB customer service representative.
At first, bank staff thought it was because he had recently made a big purchase.
“He (the NAB staffer) was talking about my settlement, I said ‘I don’t have one’,” Aaron recalled.
“My house settled two and a half years ago. I don’t have anything settling, I haven’t sold businesses or anything.”
NAB were then convinced it was a security breach but upon looking at his bank statement, saw that nothing had been transferred out of it and that there was no unusual activity.
Over the following days, he rang NAB with increasing frequency but was told there were no case managers available.
He even went into his local branch and they said they couldn’t help him.
Within hours of news.com.au contacting NAB on Aaron’s behalf, the issue was fixed.
A NAB employee told him the issue had arisen due to a human error where a hold for an amount of $374,962 was incorrectly placed on his account.
On Tuesday, they lifted the hold.
A NAB spokesperson assured news.com.au that this was a one-off mistake and that it had not happened to anyone else as far as they know.
“This issue was caused by a human error and the account has now been returned to normal. We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.
“We seek to make things right as quickly as possible when we make a mistake. We are working with (Aaron) in relation to any losses as a result of this issue and appropriate compensation.”
It comes just a week after NAB and ING customers were left fuming when their wages arrived days late, leaving some broke and unable to afford basic things like groceries.
NAB and ING blamed the debacle on a glitch which has since been resolved.
*Name withheld for privacy reasons