Commonwealth Bank, BankWest and St Andrew's Announcement

8 October 2008

A letter from Ralph Norris to all customers and colleagues of Commonwealth Bank, BankWest and St Andrew’s

Dear Customers and Colleagues,

Earlier today we announced that Commonwealth Bank will be bringing together two iconic Australian financial services organisations through the acquisition of BankWest and HBOS Australia’s wealth management business, St Andrew’s.

This is a significant day for us all. Commonwealth Bank and BankWest both share proud histories of providing financial services to Australians. Together we will be the largest financial services organisation in Australia and we will combine our strengths to provide our nearly 11 million customers with expanded access and distribution, leading products and great service.

You will all know these are difficult times for many global financial services organisations. I want to assure our BankWest and St Andrew's customers, and reassure our Commonwealth Bank customers and shareholders, that we are a very strong, well capitalised business with excellent liquidity. Commonwealth Bank is one of only 20 banks in the world with a Standard & Poor’s AA credit rating. Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch have all confirmed the Group's credit rating with a stable outlook post the acquisition. This provides strength and reassurance in our ability to meet all of our financial commitments.

Commonwealth Bank and BankWest are each very successful businesses with strong brands and a focus on customer service. Together the two businesses will be even stronger for customers, shareholders, employees and the community while maintaining our unique identities.

Commonwealth Bank and BankWest branches and business centres in Western Australia will not be closing as a consequence of this acquisition. Where there are significant overlaps in the eastern seaboard footprint we will evaluate our options and make sensible decisions having regard to the needs of all our customers. This means customers of either BankWest or Commonwealth Bank can continue to exercise choice while benefiting from the combined strength and backing of the 2008 "Regional Bank of the Year"1 and "Bank of the Year"2.

Over the next few months our organisations will work together to make sure our service is improved, not disrupted, and that our customers see the tangible benefits of belonging to our Group, including:

  • Both BankWest and Commonwealth Bank customers will be able to use each other’s ATMs without paying any additional fees once our systems allow;
  • Our combined businesses will strengthen our position as Australia’s leading home lender with a market share of 22.5%;
  • We will have $187 billion of funds under administration within our combined wealth management businesses;
  • The Group will have the country’s largest share of household deposits with a market share of 33.6%;
  • Through the acquisition, BankWest becomes owned by the largely Australian shareholder base of the Commonwealth Bank, bringing an established and popular brand back into local ownership.

More information is contained in the following press release or available on and If you have any further enquiries please call 132221, email me at, visit your local branch or speak to your banker.

This is an exciting time for both organisations and for you, our valued colleagues and customers. I’d like to thank you for both your support and your continued business and look forward to providing you with the strength, security, stability and excellent service that you’ve come to expect from us for years to come.

Yours sincerely,

Ralph Norris


  1. Australian Banking & Finance Magazine
  2. Money Magazine