Bankwest first opened as the Agricultural Bank of Western Australia in 1895 as part of the Government of Western Australia’s attempt to aid the state’s developing farming industry. In 1945 it changed its name to the Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia, became a trading bank and in the course of the next 50 years it grew to become a market leader in W.A. with about one quarter of all bank advances and deposits.
A year before being acquired by Bank of Scotland in 1995 the bank changed its name to Bank of Western Australia Ltd and adopted the trading name Bankwest. Part of the sale agreement saw Bank of Scotland offering 49 per cent of Bankwest shares to the public and as of February 1st 1996 Bankwest was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
In 2003, Bankwest majority shareholder HBOS plc (formed in 2001 via a merger of Bank of Scotland and Halifax plc) obtained the remaining Bankwest shares and on December 19th 2008 Bankwest was acquired by the Commonwealth Bank, of which it is a wholly owned subsidiary. Bankwest offers diversified lending ranging from the business, rural, housing and personal markets including all deposit products. Personal banking Loans products entail home loans (first home buyers / refinancing or switching of home loans), personal loans (car loans / unsecured or flexible personal loans) savings and investment and transaction accounts.
Additionally Bankwest offers general insurance, life Insurance, home and contents insurance, motor vehicle insurance as well as travel insurance. Business banking by Bankwest includes business cheque accounts, business bonus accounts (cash management and transactions in one account) accounts specifically geared towards agribusinesses, money market deposit accounts as well as foreign currency accounts.
Bankwest also offers various business deposits catering to long or short term investing, business loans designed around the differing business sectors’ borrowing needs and time frames as well as business credit cards developed to allow for either low rates, large rewards or flexibility for corporate card purposes.
The Bank serves more than 900,000 customers in their branches, through direct and third party distribution channels, agencies and electronic banking facilities, in addition to phone and internet banking services.
Bankwest Managing Director Jon Sutton was appointed to his position in 2008 and previously worked for the Commonwealth Bank in the Global Markets division from 1994 onwards.
On April 30th 2009, Bankwest announced a $139.0 million loss for the full year to 31 December 2008. The results largely relate to the period before the Commonwealth Bank of Australia acquired Bankwest from HBOS plc on December 19th 2008. Credit Rating Standard and Poor's Long-term Senior Debt AA Short-term Debt A-1+ Moody's Investors Services Long-term Senior Debt Aa1 Short-term Debt P-1 Independent credit ratings provider Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Services deem Bankwest’s credit rating as follows.