Australia Bank Accounts

Australia has an enviable Western-style capitalist economy, with a per capita GDP on par with the four dominant West European economies. Australia's offshore banking sector is well established and offers competetive services. Rising output in the domestic economy, robust business and consumer confidence, and rising exports of raw materials and agricultural products are fueling the economy.

Historically, the Australian banking industry was tightly regulated. Until as recently as the 1980s, it was virtually impossible for a foreign bank to establish branches in Australia; consequently Australia had very few banks when compared with such places as the United States or Hong Kong. Moreover, banks in Australia were divided into two distinct categories, known as saving banks and trading banks. Saving banks paid virtually no interest to their depositors and their lending activities were restricted to providing mortgages. Trading banks were essentially merchant banks, which did not provide services to the general public.

Because of these and numerous other regulatory restrictions on banks, other forms of non-bank financial institutions flourished in Australia, such as the building society and the credit union. These were subjected to less stringent regulations, could provide and charge higher interest rates, but were restricted in the range of services they could offer. Above all, they were not allowed to call themselves "banks".

Originally the role of central bank was performed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, then a government-owned but essentially commercially-operated banking organization. This arrangement caused some discomfort for the other banks, and as a result the central bank function was transferred to the newly-created Reserve Bank of Australia on January 14, 1960.

At the time, consumer credit in Australia was primarily loaned in the form of installment sales credit. The arrival of hundreds of thousands of readily employable migrant workers under the post-war immigration scheme, coupled with intense competition amongst lenders, discouraged proper investigation into buyers. Concerns about the possibly inflationary impact of lending created the first finance companies in Australia.

No changes were made in parliament to address misallocated capital, even as most Australians were seeing their real incomes declining.

Open a bank account in Australia

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