1911 - 1919

1911

Andrew Fisher’s Labor government passes legislation on 22 December to establish the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

1912

First branch opens in Melbourne at 317 Collins Street on 15 July, with 12 staff and Mr (later Sir) Denison Miller as Governor.

1913

Merger with the State Bank of Tasmania.

The first Sydney branch is opened on 13 January in Moore Steet (now Martin Place).

1914-18

The Commonwealth Bank plays a key role in assisting the government during World War I, including providing regular banking services to thousands of servicemen both home and abroad.

1916

The Commonwealth Bank opens its new head office at 120 Pitt Street, Sydney. It would later become known as the ‘money box’ building because the Bank’s widely recognised money box was modelled on this building.

1917

The staff Community Fund is established to provide cots for infants. The Fund, which now focuses on the health and wellbeing of children, is Australia’s oldest workplace giving program.

Head office 1916

1920 - 1939

1920

Merger with the Queensland Government Savings Bank.

The responsibility for note issue is transferred to the Commonwealth Bank from the Commonwealth Treasury.

1931

Merger with the government-owned Savings Bank of New South Wales. The head office at 48 Martin Place becomes the Commonwealth Savings Bank’s main Sydney CBD branch.

School banking program launches.

State Savings Bank of Western Australia acquired.

1939

Outbreak of World War II and powers are confirmed on the Bank by emergency legislation to assist in the war effort. As in World War I, the Commonwealth Bank provides banking services to Australian troops serving abroad.

Martin Place 1921

1940 - 1960

1945

The establishment of the General Banking Division marks the Commonwealth Bank’s entry as a real competitor in the business market.

1953

The establishment of the Commonwealth Trading Bank accelerates the Bank’s competitive presence. The creation of the Foreign Division commences the Bank’s international and Asian Expansion.

1957

Controversy over the Bank’s dual role as a trading/savings bank on one hand and a central bank on the other comes to a head. The government introduces legislation to separate the central banking functions of the Commonwealth Bank from its commercial banking side.

1958

Migrant Information Services is established.

1960

With the creation of the Reserve Bank of Australia to take control of the nation’s central banking operations, and the Commonwealth Banking Corporation to provide trading, savings and development banking, the separation of the Commonwealth Bank is completed.

Migrant banking in Fremantle