Who owns each bank in Australia?

Finance Journalist · 6 October 2021
Do you know who owns your bank? Several smaller banks are actually owned by bigger banks, meaning you could be banking with one of the big four without realising it.

Here’s what banks the big four own, plus what some other banks own.

What banks are owned by the big four banks?

The Australian banking sector is dominated by the big four banks – Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB and ANZ. They account for close to 80% of home loans in Australia by value. And their power in the market is even greater when you consider the smaller banks that they own.

  • Commonwealth Bank: Commonwealth Bank owns Bankwest. In terms of non-banks, CommBank previously owned home loan and mortgage broker Aussie and wealth management group Colonial First State. It now has a 45% shareholding in both companies.
  • Westpac: Westpac owns St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA. On a non-bank front, Westpac also notably owns RAMS and wealth management brand BT.
  • NAB: NAB owns online-only bank UBank. In 2021, NAB also acquired neobank 86 400 and has announced plans to merge it with UBank.
  • ANZ: ANZ does not currently own any other banks at the time of writing.

What about other banks?

Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank are owned by the company Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, which was formed by the merger of the two banks in 2007. The company also owns Rural Bank, Community Bank, Up, Delphi Bank and Alliance Bank.

Bank of Queensland (BOQ) owns Virgin Money Australia and ME. It also owns BOQ Specialist Bank (previously Investec Bank) which provides specialist banking services to doctors, dentists and vets.

If you’re curious about the ownership of another bank, a good way to check this is to read the bank’s About Us or History page.

Does it matter if my bank is owned by another bank?

In general, one bank being owned by another will not impact your day-to-day banking. The main potential issue is with the Financial Claims Scheme (FCS). The FCS protects deposits of up to $250,000 per account holder for each licensed authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI). This may present an issue if there are multiple banking businesses under the one licence.

For example, Bankwest and Commonwealth Bank have the same banking licence and Westpac, St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne have the same licence. So if you had $200,000 in a Westpac account and $200,000 in a St.George account, only $250,000 in total would be covered by the scheme.

Banking businesses under one banking licence

To find out whether your deposits will be covered, you can check APRA’s list of authorised deposit-taking institutions. This list includes ADIs and their different trading names. At the time of writing, APRA notes that the following ADIs operate multiple banking businesses under the one banking licence:

Australian Military Bank Ltd

  • RSL Money

Auswide Bank Ltd

  • Queensland Professional Credit Union Ltd

Bank of Queensland Limited

  • BOQ Specialist (BOQS)

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited

  • Adelaide Bank
  • Alliance Bank
  • AWA Alliance Bank
  • BDCU Alliance Bank
  • Bendigo Bank
  • Circle Alliance Bank
  • Community Sector Banking
  • Delphi Bank
  • Nova Alliance Bank
  • Rural Bank
  • Service One Alliance Bank

Beyond Bank Australia

  • Nexus Mutual

BNK Banking Corporation Limited

  • Goldfields Money

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

  • Bankwest

IMB Ltd (trading as IMB Bank)

  • The Shire

National Australia Bank Limited

  • UBank

Police & Nurses Limited (trading as P&N Bank)

  • bcu

Westpac Banking Corporation

  • Bank of Melbourne
  • BankSA
  • St.George Bank

Source: APRA, last checked 6 October 2021.

Note that in some cases, a bank may hold its own ADI licence in addition to that of its parent company. For example, ME (owned by BOQ) and 86 400 (owned by NAB) both hold their own ADI licences, which they obtained before being acquired by their current owners.

If you’re currently considering a home loan, the comparison table below displays some of the variable rate home loans on our database with links to lenders’ websites that are available for first home buyers. This table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by comparison rate (lowest-highest). Products shown are principal and interest home loans available for a loan amount of $350K in NSW with an LVR of 80% of the property value.

Before committing to a particular home loan product, check upfront with your lender and read the applicable loan documentation to confirm whether the terms of the loan meet your needs and repayment capacity. Use Canstar’s home loan selector to view a wider range of home loan products.

*Comparison rate based on loan amount of $150,000 and a term of 25 years. Read the Comparison Rate Warning

Cover image source: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock.com

Sub edited by Milan Cuk. 

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