Banking industry in Australia - statistics & facts

The banking industry in Australia has developed greatly over time, with a history closely tied to major past events. In 1817, the first bank in the country was established as the Bank of New South Wales. From then on, many additional local and a few foreign banks were set up, with mergers and acquisitions continually changing the sector's landscape. While there are just a few major domestic banks in the country, there are now almost one hundred different banks operating in Australia, including foreign banks.

Australia's banking sector dominated by the Big Four

Bank acquisitions throughout the 70s and 80s led to a few larger banks. Due to growing concern and political pressure regarding the shrinking number of large banks operating in the market, the Australian government adopted the "four pillars policy" in 1990. The policy was implemented to stop mergers between the country's Big Four banks. Today, the Big Four banks are ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, and Westpac, with CommBank leading the pack with a market capitalization of 168 billion Australian dollars. With many smaller banks also providing financial services, most banking consumers are satisfied with their bank in the country.

Banking on technology

The future of banking in Australia will change drastically over the coming decade. Banking services are already accessible online, with the number of active online banking users around the world set to continue to soar in the coming years. Among other things, mobile banking apps offer users the ability to transfer money instantly, set up and manage personal budgets and savings goals, and automate bill payments with the touch of a button, and often on a 24/7 basis.

The evolving financial technology (fintech) sector will likely lead to changes in the industry, while demographic, socio-economic, and regulation factors will also play a significant role in shaping the banking industry across the country. The Internet of Things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and 5G are just a few of the technological capabilities predicted to impact the banking sector in the coming years.

Key insights

Number of banks operating in Australia
Real interest rate in Australia in 2019
Largest bank in Australia by assets
Commonwealth Bank of Australia

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The Big Four

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)

Commonwealth Bank (CBA)

National Australia Bank (NAB)

Westpac Banking Corporation (WBC)

Consumer banking

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