Commonwealth Bank media release


Commonwealth Bank has contributed $2 million to the ANZAC Centenary Public Fund which will support the commemoration of the centenary of ANZAC across Australia from 2014 to 2018.

Commonwealth Bank CEO Ian Narev says the commitment is part of a $10 million total contribution Commonwealth Bank will make over five years towards recognising the ANZAC Centenary.

“This donation marks our commitment to commemorating past service as well as those Australians who continue to serve our nation,” Mr Narev said.

“World War I remains one of Australia’s foundational moments as a nation.  As the country’s central bank at the time, Commonwealth Bank was heavily involved in many facets of the war effort, sadly losing many employees who enlisted.

“The Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund, is Australia’s longest continuous work place giving program and now the largest workplace giving program, was founded in 1917 to send care packages to employees serving on the frontline.  Today, the Fund continues to focus on supporting the health and wellbeing of young Australians.”

Commonwealth Bank also financed and managed the purchase of 15 merchant vessels urgently required to maintain overseas trade and supplies to our troops in Europe during World War I, floated war loans which raised more than £257 million in public subscriptions, and worked with other Australian banks to finance primary producers who had been organised into war-time production pools.

The ANZAC Centenary Public Fund was established primarily to receive donations towards ANZAC Centenary commemorations that will take place between 2014 and 2018. These commemorations will encompass all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved.




More about Commonwealth Bank’s involvement in World War I

  • Special banking facilities were made available to soldiers so they could open accounts, transfer funds and obtain advances both in Australia and overseas
  • The Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund was founded as a Patriotic Club in 1917. Female employees ran a stall to raise funds, despatched comfort parcels to staff serving overseas, and formed the first Sydney Strong Post to cheer and give gifts to departing soldiers as they marched through the city streets; after the war it was re-formed as a Cot Fund that provided cots for both a children’s hospital and a children’s home
  • Commonwealth Bank funded and built ex-servicemen’s homes upon their return from duty

Commonwealth Bank ANZACs

  • 228 employees were given leave to enlist in the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF)
  • Another 49 employees resigned from Bank employment to join the First AIF
  • 26 employees lost their lives
  • Four future Commonwealth Bank Board Members served in the First AIF
  • Four employees who served in WWI were taken prisoner of war

Media contact:

Felicity Walker
Commonwealth Bank
Media Hotline: 02 9118 6919