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On The Record

CBA response regarding the School Banking program

CBA response regarding the School Banking program

Commonwealth Bank responds to commentary about the School Banking program.

Commonwealth Bank has a strong and respected track record of providing quality financial education programs in Australia.  Our programs, which have been running in Australian schools for more than 85 years, have been widely commended by participants, parents and educators. 

Being financially capable makes a big difference to a person’s future wellbeing. A report released by the Australian Council for Education Research earlier this year showed that while young Australians ranked above the OECD average in a global comparison of financial literacy levels, 20 per cent of Australian students were identified as low performers.

Financial education has traditionally been delivered through a partnership between schools, regulators and the banking sector. ASIC has highlighted that equipping young people with basic knowledge, skills and behaviours is needed to enable them to make good financial decisions. As our society becomes increasingly cashless, it is important our children are taught contemporary money skills 

Commonwealth Bank’s School Banking program is supported by an overwhelming number of parents and participants, and we’re proud to stand behind it with a legacy of helping school children learn basic financial skills like saving, for over 80 years.

As part of our School Banking program, we pay schools a small amount of money based on the amount children save towards their goals. In calendar year 2016, the median payment was $400. 

The purpose of these payments has always been to compensate for the administration of the program and the dedicated time of the volunteers. In most cases these payments generally go towards school sporting equipment or books in the school library. 

We have heard Choice’s concerns about these payments and will engage with the schools, P&Cs and consumer groups to introduce a change to the way payments are structured from 1 January 2018 that no longer links the payment to the value of students’ deposits. 

In addition to School Banking, the Commonwealth Bank offers all schools the Start Smart Financial Education program. This program is offered by a dedicated independent facilitation team who teach competencies from the National Curriculum. This program also does not promote products or services of the Commonwealth Bank.