Bankwest, previously known as The Bank of Western Australia, is an Australian full-service bank based in Perth, Western Australia. It was sold in October 2008 to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for A$2.1 billion and operates as a division of its parent company.
In 1895, the Government of Western Australia established the Agricultural Bank of Western Australia as a rural lender to support the State's farming industries. Despite its name, it was technically not a bank, in that it did not collect deposits from the public, its liabilities being government bonds. It was a government instrumentality that lent exclusively to farmers.
In 1945, the Agricultural Bank became a full trading bank and changed its name to the Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia (also known as R&I Bank). This enabled it to expand its retail and commercial banking services throughout the state. In 1956 it became a savings bank, and in 1985 the first Sydney branch opened.
The bank was incorporated in 1990, and then in 1994 changed its name to the Bank of Western Australia Limited, with the trading name Bankwest, in preparation for privatisation. In December 1995, the Bank of Scotland acquired the bank, and as part of the sale agreement, offered 49 per cent of the shares in Bankwest to the public. Bankwest shares listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on 1 February 1996.
In 2001, Halifax Group (a large UK financial institution) merged with Bank of Scotland to form HBOS plc. HBOS then acquired all the outstanding shares of Bankwest, making it HBOS's wholly owned subsidiary.
In 2003, Bankwest announced the acquisition of API Finance from Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (API) for $300m in line with its industry specialisation growth strategy in the business banking segment.
In early June 2008, reports began to circulate that HBOS intended to sell Bankwest.
In September 2008, Lloyds TSB bought HBOS in a deal worth over £12.2 billion. This was followed in October 2008 when, with significant problems of their own, HBOS/Lloyds TSB agreed to the sale of Bankwest and St Andrews Insurances to Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) for an initial purchase price of A$2.1 billion.
Products and services
Bankwest offers a full range of banking products, including loans (home loans, car credits, personal loans), credit cards transaction and savings accounts.
In 2007, Bankwest launched the Bankwest Regular Saver account for individuals.
In 2012 Bankwest launched the Student Edge debit card linked to their Student account.
On 18 July 2018, Bankwest announced plans to close 29 branches in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland from 17 August to 7 September. Bankwest managing director Rowan Munchenberg said an overwhelming number of its customers were choosing to bank online, prompting the closure of the stores.
In December 2011, a former Bankwest commercial client Geoff Shannon started an action group and website called "Unhappy Banking", after losing "all of [his] company and personal assets due to the predatory conduct of Bankwest". The group claims that Bankwest "moved aggressively to reduce its exposure to small- and medium-sized commercial property clients" after being taken over by the Commonwealth Bank in 2008. After lobbying by Unhappy Banking, a Senate Inquiry was announced into banking practices on 14 March 2012. In August 2013 Shannon lost his case against Bankwest, with Supreme Court Judge Sackar referring to Shannon as an "unreliable witness".
- Spillman, Ken (1989) Horizons: A History of the Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia. (Perth: University of Western Australia Press.)
- "Commonwealth Bank of Australia – Annual Report 2015" (pdf). Commonwealth Bank of Australia. 30 June 2015. p. 10. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia (2008). "Commonwealth Bank of Australia to acquire Bank West and St Andrew's". Archived from the original on 12 October 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Bank of Western Australia Limited (2008). "BankWest and St Andrew's sold to Commonwealth Bank". Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
- "API and BankWest announce alliance" (PDF) (Press release). Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (API) & BankWest. 29 April 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Jimenez, Katherine (4 June 2008). "Bankwest says it's safe despite sale rumours". The Australian. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2008.
- "Bankwest takes aim with an 8 per cent savings account - Australia's highest and no account fees". Bankwest. 30 July 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- https://bankwest.coretrading.com.au/public/homepage/announcements.aspx?id=bkwstannouncement14[permanent dead link]
- Yeates, Clancy (18 July 2018). "Bankwest to close 29 east coast branches, cut 200 jobs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
- Unhappy Banking web site
- Deb Whitmont and Janine Cohen (10 April 2012). "Happy Banking?". Four Corners. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 October 2014.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "Geoff Shannon's Story". Unhappy Banking. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- "Bankwest inquiry may start within days, senator says". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- "Unhappy Bankwest clients push senate inquiry". WA Today. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- "Inquiry into the post-GFC banking sector". Parliament of Australia website. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Shannon  NSWSC 1076 at para 103, Supreme Court (NSW, Australia)