The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, founded by the government of Australia in 1911, is the among the country's major financial establishments. Listed as the fifth among the major Australian-listed companies in the Australian Stock Exchange, it also has businesses in United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Asia. Some of its businesses include Colonial First State Investments Limited, the ASB Bank in New Zealand, CommInsure, and CommSec.
Through the years, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has been ranked among the top financial establishments in the country, characterized by outstanding operations marked throughout its banking history.
The Commonwealth Bank Act, an Act of Parliament in the country, paved the way to the bank's foundation in 1911 under the Bank Nationalization policy of Andrew Fisher's Labor Government. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia started operating in 1912, functioning both as a savings bank and a general bank. Also, it was the first Australian bank to obtain a guarantee from the Federal Government.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia opened its first branch in Melbourne on July 15, 1912, and it already had branches in the country's six states by 1913. The bank relocated its head office to Sydney in 1916. By 1920, the bank started to gradually acquire its central bank control, when it took over the issuance of Australian bank notes, a function transferred to the bank from the Department of Treasury.
During the second World War, the bank was given nearly full central bank control through an emergency legislation. The bank took this as an opportunity to augment the country's economy when the war ended. However, from 1958 to 1959, the bank's two-fold function as a central bank and a general bank was questioned, resulting to its division. The reserve bank operation was given to the Reserve Bank of Australia, while the Commonwealth Banking Corporation took over the general bank operation.
In the 1970s, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia began its expansion by venturing into travel and insurance businesses, and upgraded its services by adapting a computerized system. Furthermore, the bank launched the country's first credit card upon its creation of the Bankcard in 1974. A year after, the bank continued to expand and founded its finance corporation wing, the Commonwealth Bank Finance Corporation.
During the 1980s up to the 1990s, the bank continued to update its computerized services by introducing the Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) and electronic banking in homes and offices. Soon, the bank also started to offer other credit cards, such as Keycards in 1981, MasterCards in 1984, and Visa cards in 1993.
The Commonwealth Bank offers customers one of the largest selections of credit cards available in Australia. The company offers various card types including Balance Transfer Credit Cards, Interest Free Credit Cards and Low Interest Credit Cards.Current credit cards offered include:
- Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Credit Card
- Commonwealth Bank Awards Credit Card
- Commonwealth Bank Low Fee Credit Card
- Commonwealth Bank Gold Credit Card
- Commonwealth Bank Platinum Credit Card
- Commonwealth Bank No Annual Fee Credit Card
The bank's website was officially launched on September 29, 1995.
For its efficient services and various innovations in the country's banking industry, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia received several recognitions, such as the Bank of the Decade award which was given in November 1999, and the Best Bank award for 1996, 2000, and 2002 in the Australian Banking and Finance Awards. Business magazines and publications also constantly take note of the bank's best services by giving service-specific recognitions, such as Best Online Banking Website by the Australian NetGuide Magazine, Product Innovator of the Year for CALIA+ by the Money Magazine, and Best Life Insurance Product by the Australian Banking and Finance Magazine.
Today, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia boasts of the country's largest network for the administration of its financial services, with 1,010 branches in the country, over 3,800 agencies, and more than 3,200 ATMs in the country. The bank offers personal banking services in over 3,700 post agencies in Australia, and transactional banking services in more than 514 post agencies in the country for business clients. The cardholders can also avail of the bank's services at over 25 million spots across the globe, including more than a million ATMs. The bank's online services also address the concerns of over 2.5 million customers.
Furthermore, the bank's structure is categorized into four business divisions, namely Retail Banking Services, Premium Business Services, Wealth Management, and International Financial Services. Through the Retail Banking Services, the bank aims to provide financial support for personal and small businesses by offering affordable banking options. The bank's Premium Business Services, which includes the top online broking service in the country called CommSec, address the various concerns of premium clients such as personal, business, and corporate needs. Wealth Management comprises of services and policies such as Colonial First State, Commonwealth Investment Management, Colonial Insurance, third party support services, and CommInsure. Through the International Financial Services, the bank is represented in eleven countries mostly from the Asia Pacific Region, where the branches underscore growth opportunities overseas. China, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Fiji are some of the countries where the bank offers retail bank services. The bank also has branches in New York, London, Tokyo, Singapore, and Auckland.
Aside from these products and services, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is also involved in giving various sponsorships and support to the community with sport sponsorships, awards, foundations, and partnerships. The sporting events sponsored by the bank are Cricket and Netball. Cricket groups such as the Australian Women's Cricket Team and the Australian Women Youth's Team have been supported by the bank since 1998, and netball competitions in the country are sponsored by the bank by means of the Commonwealth Bank Netball Development Fund since 1997. The bank is included in the main sponsors of the Australian of the Year Award as well since 1979.
The bank also participates in the advancement of the Australian community through its partnership with numerous organizations in the fields of health, arts, social welfare, and disaster aid. Furthermore, the bank takes part in the campaign for financial education of the young members of the Australian community through its Commonwealth Bank Foundation. The foundation introduced the Student Banking Program in 1931, wherein young Australians were taught basic saving strategies and money management.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has gone a long way from its meek start in 1911 to its prominent status in the country's banking business today. From its long history of banking success up to the present, the bank continues to offer Australia no less than the excellent customer service it has been known for through the years.