Australian primary school students saved more than $16 million in 2002

7 February 2003

Students from more than 3,100 primary schools across Australia deposited a total of $16,305,099 during the 2002 school year as part of the Commonwealth Bank student banking program.

Commonwealth Bank Group Executive, Retail Banking Services, Hugh Harley said the figure was encouraging, given how important it is that children learn to save at a young age.

"This news is particularly encouraging given a Commonwealth Bank-commissioned study conducted in August last year which confirmed that Australians of all ages and professions are experiencing a worsening savings crisis"

"The survey found that 37 per cent of Australians are not saving, with young Australians being amongst the worst affected, so to see children saving while they are at school is heartening." he said

Mr Harley said the Bank was proud of its involvement in supporting young Australians.

"It may seem a small thing, young kids depositing a dollar or so a week, but learning such a discipline may set them up for later in life," he said

"The Commonwealth Bank youth accounts encourage good saving habits because successful savers are rewarded with bonus interest in addition to the standard rate, so their savings grow faster."

Mr. Harley said that not only do students benefit, but that the School Banking commission system also helps participating schools raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for much needed initiatives.

"Over half of all Australian children aged up to 11 years old save with a Dollarmite club account and the Commonwealth Bank is still the only bank to conduct in-school banking nationally," he said.

"Our youth accounts have no account-keeping or transactions fees. The Bank pays all government charges and now offers bonus interest and telephone and Internet banking options."

Vice-Captain of the Australian Netball Team and Captain of the Sydney Swifts, Liz Ellis, said she had used School Banking with the Commonwealth Bank when she was at school at St Matthews Primary School in Windsor, NSW.

"Dad used to say ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves’ and I guess because of that I have always been a pretty good saver," she said.

As well as playing at the top level of her sport, Liz also runs her own successful business. She said she was sure that School Banking helps children learn to save from a young age and that she benefited from the early practice.

For over 70 years, the Commonwealth Bank has been educating children about the importance of savings, managing money and how to use bank services through the Bank’s popular youth accounts.

To support its school banking program in the financial education of our young Australians, the Bank also launched during 2002, the DollarsandSense website, a site that focuses on financial literacy for youth.

For further information or to interview Hugh Harley, Group Executive Retail Banking Services, please contact Bryan Fitzgerald, General Manager Media & Community Group Corporate Relations (02) 9378 2663.