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Westpac Banking Group: Australia’s First & Oldest Bank

February 1, 2016

Westpac Banking Group holds the distinction of being the first and oldest bank in Australia. The bank was established as the Bank of New South Wales in 1817 under a charter of incorporation provided by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Through the years the company had its highs and lows like in 1821 when it was discovered that the bank’s Chief Cashier had stolen half its subscribed capital, none of which was ever recovered.

The gold fever in 1851 triggered the bank’s major expansion. By 1861 it had expanded from a single office in Sydney to a network of 37 branches. The Bank of New South Wales changed its name to Westpac Banking Corporation in October 1982 following the acquisition of the Commercial Bank of Australia.

Under the leadership of Robert Joss, Westpac from 1993 to 1999, executed a major rejuvenation program and then began a number of acquisitions in Australia and New Zealand to expand its retail footprint in markets where it did not have a strong presence.

Westpac merged with St. George Bank Limited, in 2008, producing a much bigger multi-brand Group. The effective date of the merger was December 1, 2008. On March 1, 2010, The Westpac Group commenced operating as a single authorized deposit-taking institution (ADI), and the legal entity St. George Bank Limited was deregistered. From that date St. George Bank became an operating division within The Westpac Group.

Today, Westpac has 5 key customer facing divisions serving approximately 13 million customers.

On June 10, 2015, the banking group announced a new, simplified operating structure.  The structure better aligns its business with key customer segments with the 5 key divisions including: Consumer Bank, Commercial and Business Bank, BT Financial Group, Westpac Institutional Bank and Westpac New Zealand.

Under this structure, Westpac retains it portfolio of brands including Westpac, St. George, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and RAMS. These brands will operate under the Consumer Bank and Commercial and Business Bank divisions.

Westpac has more than 36,000 employees and generates sales in excess of $35 billion.

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