The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was established by the Commonwealth Bank Act 1911, introduced by the Andrew Fisher Labor Government, which favoured bank nationalisation, with effect on 22 December 1911.
In 1911, legislation established the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
In 1911, the first Commonwealth Bank Act gave the Bank only the ordinary functions of commercial and savings banking; the Bank did not specifically have a central banking remit and it was not responsible for the note issue.
Apart from its obvious importance to bankers, the book will be of interest not only to students of labour and economic history, but also to the general reader of Australian history. It takes the reader through nineteenth-century financial crises, the Labor Party's early determination to control banking, the setting up of credit fonder, and the issue of state notes, to the passing of the Act to establish the Bank in 1911.
The bank opened its first branch in Melbourne on 15 July 1912.
The Bank opened for business in mid 1912.
In 1916, the bank moved its head office to Sydney.
In 1920, responsibility for the note issue was transferred from the Treasury to a Notes Board (consisting of four members, appointed by the Government). The Governor of the Bank was ex officio a member of the Notes Board.
In 1920, the bank began acquiring central bank powers when it took over the responsibility for the issue of Australian bank notes from the Department of the Treasury.
The bank's role in central banking expanded gradually after 1920.
In 1924, the Commonwealth Bank Act was amended and the Bank was given control over the note issue.
The Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) is an independent not-for-profit organisation founded in 1932.
In 1942, the Commonwealth Banking Corporation (CBC) suspended its operations in Papua New Guinea as the Imperial Japanese Army captured many of the towns in which it operated, and bombed Port Moresby.
The new Commonwealth Bank Act and the Banking Act, both of 1945, formalised the Bank's powers in relation to the administration of monetary and banking policy, and exchange control.
However, legislation in 1951 established a new board (at that time of ten members), including the Governor, Deputy Governor and the Secretary to the Treasury, and maintained the responsibility of the Governor for managing the Bank.
The bank created the first credit card in Australia in 1974 when it established Bankcard.
A new Commonwealth Development Bank was established in 1960 and during the 1970s the bank diversified its business into areas like insurance and travel. It established a finance company, CBFC in 1974.
Reserve Bank of Australia (1979), ‘Submission to the Committee of Inquiry into The Australian Financial System’, Reserve Bank of Australia Occasional Paper No.
Committee of Inquiry into the Australian Financial System (1980), Australian Financial System: Interim Report (K Campbell, chairperson), Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, May.
Committee of Inquiry into the Australian Financial System (1981), Australian Financial System: Final Report (K Campbell, chairperson), Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, September.
In 1981 the bank transferred its operations in the Solomon Islands to the National Bank of Solomon Islands, which operated as a joint venture (51% Commonwealth Bank, 49% Government of the Solomon Islands).
There were no major changes in the functions of the RBA until the abolition of Exchange Control following the float of the Australian dollar in 1983.
In 1989 the bank acquired 75 per cent of ASB Bank in New Zealand.
Reserve Bank of Australia (1991), ‘Submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration Inquiry into the Australian Banking Industry’, January.
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration (1991), A Pocket Full of Change: Banking and Deregulation (S Martin, MP, chairperson), Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
In 1991 the bank acquired the failing Victorian Government-owned State Bank of Victoria (est.
In 1994 Commonwealth sold its shares in National Bank of Solomon Islands to Bank of Hawaii.
Another inquiry into the Australian financial system (the Wallis Committee) was announced in 1996.
Reserve Bank of Australia (1996), ‘Submission to the Financial System Inquiry’, Reserve Bank of Australia Occasional Paper No.
Financial System Inquiry (1996), Financial System Inquiry Discussion Paper (S Wallis, chairperson), Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
Reserve Bank of Australia (1997), ‘Supplementary Submission to the Financial System Inquiry’, Reserve Bank of Australia Occasional Paper No.
Financial System Inquiry (1997), Financial System Inquiry Final Report (S Wallis, chairperson), Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
There were two major outcomes of this inquiry for the Bank, both taking effect from 1 July 1998.
New legislation – the Payment Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 and the Payment Systems and Netting Act 1998 – was introduced, giving the Bank relevant powers in this area.
On 10 March 2000, the Commonwealth Bank and Colonial Limited announced their intention to merge, with seven Commonwealth Bank shares being offered for twenty Colonial Shares.
The merger received final approval from the Supreme Court of Victoria on 31 May 2000 and was completed on 13 June 2000.
Macfarlane IJ (2002), ‘Sir Leslie Melville: His Contribution to Central Banking in Australia’, Remarks at the Inaugural Sir Leslie Melville Lecture and the formal launch of the Toyota-ANU Public Lecture Series, Canberra, 22 March.
In 2005, the bank established strategic co-operation agreements with two Chinese banks, Jinan City Commercial Bank and Hangzhou City Commercial Bank; it took an 11% stake in Jinan Commercial, and a 19.9% stake in Hangzhuo Commercial.
On 27 January 2006, the bank acquired the remaining 49% stake in Colonial National Bank (Fiji).
In December 2007, following the change of Government, a new Statement on the Conduct of Monetary Policy was jointly issued by the then Treasurer, Wayne Swan MP, and the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Glenn Stevens.
At the beginning of 2008, Commonwealth Bank opened a branch in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Then in October, Commonwealth announced that it had purchased Bankwest and St Andrew's Insurances from their parent company HBOS plc for A$2.1 billion.
Commonwealth Bank held about 30 percent of the loan business of financial advisory company Storm Financial when it collapsed in January 2009.
In December 2009, Commonwealth sold Colonial National Bank to Bank of South Pacific.
The acquisition was scheduled to be completed in early 2009, subject to regulatory approval.
RBA (2014), Submission to the Financial System Inquiry, March.
A further inquiry into the Australian financial system was conducted in 2014.
On 9 May 2018, Commonwealth Bank settled an interest rate rigging case brought by ASIC for $25 million.
Updated: 19 May 2020/ Responsible Officer: University Librarian/ Page Contact: Library Systems & Web Coordinator
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