Early history as a building society
St.George has a long and proud history as a financial services institution. It was established in 1937 in the suburbs of Southern Sydney as a co-operative building society. In 1945, St.George merged with the Cronulla District Co-operative Building Society and grew to 38 branches. Over the following 4 decades, St.George built a reputation as Australia’s foremost building society.
In 1989 St.George established the Foundation as a registered charity with a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for Australian children. Over the years, St.George Foundation has given more than $15 million to Australian charities supporting children.
St.George achieved full banking status and acquired its banking licence in 1992. Two years later, St.George became a full service bank when it acquired the Commercial Banking division of Barclays. In 1994, St.George led the market by launching electronic banking to business customers. St.George acquired Advance Bank/BankSA in 1997, becoming the fifth largest bank in Australia. In 1998 St.George purchased SEALCORP, followed by KPMG Financial Services in 1999.
St.George began the new millennium with further acquisition. In 2000, the Bank acquired the Scottish Pacific Business Finance Group and in 2001, Deutsche Bank’s Australian margin lending business. In 2002 the Bank announced a joint venture with Foodstuffs, New Zealand’s largest supermarket retailer, to establish Superbank.
As a leader in technology, St.George was the first bank to launch SMS Alerts in 2004. By 2006 the Bank reached two major financial milestones: it achieved an after tax result of over $1billion for the first time and exceeded $100 billion in assets.
Merger with Westpac
In May 2008, the St.George Group entered into merger discussions with Westpac Banking Corporation. After regulatory approval and due diligence, shareholders overwhelmingly approved the merger in November. On 1 December 2008 St.George became part of the Westpac Group, contributing almost 30% of the merged entity and creating Australia’s leading financial services organisation with an ‘AA’ credit rating. On 1 March 2010, the Westpac Group commenced operating as a single authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) and the legal entity St.George Bank Limited was de-registered. St.George Bank is now a major operating division, contributing significantly to the Westpac Group.