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|Founded||As a building society (1937)
As a public company (1992)
|Products||Retail, Business & Specialist Banking|
St.George Bank is an Australian bank and has been a subsidiary of Westpac Banking Corporation since 2008. It provides services primarily in New South Wales but with growing representation across a number of industry and business segments in Queensland and Western Australia. St.George also operates in South Australia and the Northern Territory under its subsidiary BankSA and until recently in Victoria before the relaunch of the Bank of Melbourne in July 2011. The bank maintains a large number of retail branches and ATMs across Australia and has some back office operations in Bangalore, India.
As a result of the merger of the bank with Westpac Banking Corporation in 2008, St.George customers have access to Westpac ATM's which had previously been offered through a partnership with the National Australia Bank.
In 1848, both the State Bank of South Australia and the Savings Bank of South Australia opened for business in rural South Australia. The two banks would merge in 1984 and trade as the State Bank of South Australia. The St.George Co-operative Building Society Ltd. was formed on 6 May 1937 in the Sydney suburb of Hurstville, with George Cross as the first Chairman of the Board. One month later in June, the Cronulla & District Co-operative Building Society was formed.
The NSW Permanent Building and Investment Societies were also launched in 1937. The society became a bank in 1985 under the name Advance Bank. In 1995 it acquired the State Bank of South Australia, adopting the Bank of South Australia as the name for the merged entity in South Australia, trading as BankSA. It was in turn taken over in 1997 by St.George Bank.
With the post-war housing boom, the St.George and Cronulla societies expanded rapidly, with 38 societies established by 1955. In 1955, the Society became a Permanent Building Society, which enable its loans to be larger and terms shorter. In 1961 the first Sydney branch opened in Miranda, followed by the first Sydney city branch in August 1963. The expansion of the branch network continued through the 1960s. The Society also operated 41 agencies.
In 1972 St.George was the first building society to 'go on-line' with the installation of an IBM mainframe computer connected to 30 terminals. Shortly after, the black light signature system for passbooks was introduced, a system which had been adopted by the banks in the late 1960s. This system enabled withdrawals to be made from passbooks at a branch other than the one where an account was opened, unless prior arrangements were made to transfer the signature card to the other branch.
The headquarters of the building society was originally located in Ormonde Parade, Hurstville. In the 1990s, its headquarters was moved to Montgomery Street, Kogarah.
On 1 November 2006, St.George Bank posted a net profit of A$1bn for 2005/06, which was a 17.9% increase on the previous year, and a record profit for the bank. At the time of its acquisition by Westpac Banking Corporation in 2008, St.George Bank Limited (as it was then known) was the fifth largest bank operating in Australia.
Almost collapsed (1987)
Radio announcer John Laws, almost caused a run on St George Building Society in 1987 when he told his listeners a big building society “is going to go bust”.
St George kept its doors open and paid out every withdrawal. Then NSW premier Neville Wran later stood outside a branch and said he could personally guarantee the society’s financial security. 
Acquisition of BankSA (1992)
The Bank of South Australia was an amalgamation of the State Bank of South Australia and the Savings Bank of South Australia, both of which were guaranteed by the State Government. After excessive insufficiently secured lending through the 1980s, the bank collapsed, and because of the guarantee, was bailed out by the State Government. The bank was split into the "bad bank" with the non-performing debts, and the "good bank". The "good bank" was sold to, and merged with, Advance Bank in 1992, and subsequently was purchased by St.George.
Both Advance Bank and St.George continued to run BankSA as a separate entity - it has 55 branches in metropolitan Adelaide, 66 in rural South Australia (totalling 121 overall in the state, more than any other bank in South Australia), four in the Northern Territory and one in Queensland.
Merger with Westpac Banking Corporation (2008)
On 14 November 2007 Paul Fegan was announced as the new CEO of the St.George Bank to replace Gail Kelly, who had departed on 17 August 2007 to become CEO of Westpac Banking Corporation. On 9 May 2008, Westpac and St.George released communications outlining an intention to merge, which was approved by St.George shareholders on 13 November 2008, and upheld by the Australian Federal Court on 17 November 2008. Immediately following the court decision, Paul Fegan announced his resignation as CEO and Managing Director. St.George, and BankSA, became a subsidiary of Westpac on 1 December 2008.
Upon completion of the merger with Westpac, Greg Bartlett (former Group Executive in charge of St.George Institutional and Business Bank) was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, reporting to the Chief Executive Officer of Westpac, Gail Kelly.
In late 2010, Greg Barlett announced that he would step down at Chief Executive Officer in December after a long and successful tenure with the company. Rob Chapman (Managing Director of BankSA) would be appointed in the role.
Since coming to office, Rob Chapman has led St.George Bank in conjunction with and support from its parent Westpac Banking Corporation, on a multibranded strategy which has recently seen St.George take Group business units such as RAMS and relaunch the Bank of Melbourne underneath its banner. The bank is now commonly referred to as the St.George Banking Group.
Relaunch of Bank of Melbourne (2011)
The Bank of Melbourne is a subsidiary of Westpac Banking Corporation, and was relaunched in August 2011. Previously, Westpac Banking Corporation had purchased the old Bank of Melbourne business in 1997 (a separate and independently operating building society located in Melbourne) and after some preliminary synergies were harnessed and minor rebranding undertaken (namely inserting the Westpac logo in the Bank's branding), eventually closed its doors in 2002 and merged the remaining operations under the Westpac banner. It is reported that the brand is now being relaunched due to the limited success of the St.George Bank brand in Victoria and as such, the new Bank of Melbourne will replace the Group's St.George Bank brand completely throughout Victoria, as part of a major local branding strategy by Westpac. The bank and will operate independently of the parent company and of St. George Bank and is distinct from the old Bank of Melbourne business.
St.George typically promotes itself as more friendly and customer-service oriented than the "big four" banks operating nationally in Australia, although it is now a part of the Westpac Group. The Bank was previously recognised as a customer service leader in third party surveys, but the 2010 CHOICE consumer survey shows customer satisfaction is on par with the other "big four", lagging behind small credit providers. More recent surveys show the bank is beginning to regain some ground in the customer service stakes with growth in Net Promoter Scores for the brand.
Despite its roots as a building society specialising in home and consumer lending, today the Bank provides funding to a variety of specialist industries and market segments including commercial property construction and development, invoice discounting, interest rate hedging, foreign exchange, trade finance and automotive finance (formerly the Barclay Bank Business). The Automotive Finance division also operates under St.George Finance Limited and St.George Motor Finance Limited (a subsidiary of St.George Bank) and has been rebranded in Victoria under the relaunched Bank of Melbourne.
St.George plays an important role in the community through the support of various charities, the arts, sporting clubs, business programs and disaster relief initiatives. Notable community initiatives include sponsorship of the Brisbane International Film Festival in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and various fundraising appeals and support of children's charities through the St.George Foundation.
In particular, St.George Bank has a long history and strong connection to the St George region of Sydney and this includes providing sponsorship for the St. George Illawarra Dragons Rugby League team. The Bank also sponsored the AFL club St Kilda, however relinquished this in 2010 due to continuing negative publicity issues surrounding some club players.
In Queensland, St.George Bank is major sponsor of the state's rugby union team, the Queensland Reds. Queensland Rail relinquished the major sponsorship role at the end of 2010 paving the way for St.George, then a minor sponsor, to take it on. The Queensland Reds went on to win the Super Rugby rugby competition in 2011 which provided St.George significant exposure in the growth state. Since then St.George has announced a three year major sponsorship of the club, taking their agreement out to the end of 2014.
Like other major Australian banks, St George has moved parts of its back office work to India. In 2007, cards and loan services work was transferred to IBM in Bangalore, and most recently[when?] 22 Kogarah jobs went to India, bringing the total to about 122. This is in addition to the approximately 70 information technology jobs that had been moved to the Indian firms Tata Consultancy Services and Hindustan Computers Limited.
- "Selected events in the evolution of the Australian financial system". Australian Bankers' Association Inc. Retrieved 26 August 2011
- (1 November 2006)St George achieves NSW growth. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved on 2 October 2012.
- (28 AUG 2012)CBA’s Twitter nightmare highlights anonymity risk. Australian Financial Review Retrieved on 4 October 2012.
- Bank satisfaction survey 2010. Choice. Retrieved on 2 October 2012.
- St. George sends more Aussie jobs offshore, Finance Sector Union