Supporting Australia - 100 years and beyond

One hundred years together - we are proud to have been part of Australian history and to have supported Australian communities for 100 years.

100 years and beyondMoore Street (now Martin Place), Sydney circa 1913. The small building with the gable façade was opened as the first Sydney branch of the Commonwealth Bank on 13 January 1913. The three storey building on the corner of Pitt Street was soon demolished and became the site of the future Head Office building of the Bank.

On 22 December 1911, Commonwealth Bank of Australia was established by an act of Federal Parliament to conduct general and savings banking. We opened for business on 15 July 1912 at 317 Collins St, Melbourne and in the 100 years since then, the growth of Commonwealth Bank has mirrored the evolution of modern Australia.

Our centenary is an important milestone, one that will allow us to reflect with pride on the difference we have made to millions of Australian families and businesses in this country over such a long period of time. That is 100 years of supporting the infrastructure and growth of Australia. 100 years of being one of the biggest employers in the country and 100 years of supporting the communities we operate in.

From the very beginning, our founders were determined that a branch or agency of Commonwealth Bank should be available wherever its services were needed. Where access to a branch or agency was limited, mobile banking services were provided. In fact a mobile agency was mounted on a pay train to take wages to workers constructing the Trans-Australian Railway, and the workers camps, stations and sidings that dotted the route. This focus on mobile banking remains a cornerstone of Commonwealth Bank’s philosophy today.

We were there helping the country rebuild after the World Wars with funding to build housing for returned soldiers and their families. We were there to help iconic Australian companies grow from small to large. We were there to fund major infrastructure like the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme, and we were there in times of crisis, helping Australians through bushfires, floods and cyclones. We were also there to help the many migrants who have come to Australia to assist in this country’s development.

100 yearsChildren handing over money boxes and passbooks to deposit savings in their Commonwealth Bank accounts, November 1956.

For more than 80 years we have been teaching school children fundamental money management skills, thanks to our School Banking Program. Through the Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund, Australia's longest running employee contribution program, the generosity of our employees has provided ongoing support to the health and wellbeing of young Australians since 1917.

We have always been determined to provide service excellence and innovation. Our vision has been and remains to be Australia’s finest financial services organisation through excelling in customer service. This vision builds on and recognises our unique heritage as the bank for all Australians. It is a strategy which aims to tap into the tremendous potential we have in our franchise, by better understanding our customers, improving the service we offer them and doing so in the most efficient way possible. This is a strategy which has helped deliver strong financial returns, and in many ways has helped us navigate recently through the Global Financial Crisis.

As one of Australia’s largest and most respected organisations the Group recognises the importance of taking a leadership position in tackling potentially crippling social challenges. The recent response to the East Coast floods and cyclone is an example of the leadership role the Group plays not only from a finance industry perspective, but also for corporate Australia.