Australia Economy

The Australian economy with a population of 22.5 Million (Est 2010) ranks 17th in the world with a GDP PPP of 850 billion and GDP PPP per capita of 38,663 vs 45,934 (United States) according to the IMF in 2009.  Its currency the Australian Dollar (AUD) is the 5th most traded currency in the world. Bank deposits held for a fixed term in Australia are called term deposits. According to CIA.gov its inflation was 4.4% in 2008 and 1.8% in 2009.

Savings and Term Deposit Insurance in Australia

For those with only one banking provider, from 31 December 2012, term deposits that mature on or after this date, a deposit balance of $250,000 cap per person per institution (applicable to eligible ADIs � including banks, buildings societies and credit unions) will apply to guarantee deposits under the 'Australian Government Guarantee Scheme for Large Deposits and Wholesale Funding'. Please note that Deposit products include call accounts, term deposits and all on-line savings accounts.

The retail banking landscape in Australia includes local large national banks, regional banks and smaller local banks. In addition their also include credit unions, building societies as well as foreign banks and alternative P2P lending providers.

Largest Banks in Australia

Currently, the Australian banking sector is dominated by the 'big four' large national banks that include CBA (Commonwealth Bank of Australia), NAB (National Australia Bank), Westpac (Westpac Banking Corporation and ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group). These institutions tend to have a national presence in all states and territories including most branches and ATM locations.

Regional and other Local Banks

BOQ, Bankwest (Subsidiary of CBA) and Bendigo and Adelaide bank are large regional banks with significant locations in some states but do not have the scale and presences of the larger national banks.

Foreign Banks

The international banks, HSBC and Citibank also have a local retail presence in the country as well as more recently Chinese and Indian foreign banks.

Credit Unions

Individually credit unions, building societies and mutual banks have a smaller customer base and location presence but with over 4 million customers combined they provide an alternative competitive offering for retail banking compared to larger banks in the country. Examples include CUA, Heritage and Newcastle Permanent.

P2P Lending

More recently P2P lending provides Australians an alternative lending option for the personal loans segment of banking. Examples include Society one and Ratesetter.

Regulation

A number of regulators in Australia regulate various aspects for banks and products they offer. These regulators include APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority), ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission). ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) and the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia). In addition banks are also subject to KYC (Know your customer) and Anti-Money Laundering obligations for compliance and also report transactions through to AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) In particular AUSTRAC oversees the compliance of Australian businesses that include including but not limited to financial services providers, bullion dealers, remittance providers.