State Bank of Victoria

Public Record Office Victoria
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Establishment and Background History

The State Bank of Victoria was established by 1912 when the Savings Banks Act (No.2365) provided for all Banks then operating under the Savings Banks Acts to be collectively named The State Savings Bank of Victoria.

The first Government controlled savings bank had been established on 1 January 1842 under New South Wales legislation. Known as the Savings Bank of Port Phillip it was administered by a Board of Trustees and a Vice-President. Branches of this Bank were subsequently established in other parts of the colony.

In 1853 a statutory body known as The Commissioners of Savings Banks in the Colony of Victoria was constituted under the Savings' Bank Act 1853 16 Vic., No.37. This body of Government appointed Commissioners was given responsibility for the direction of the Savings Bank of Port Phillip and its various branches. Each bank was thereafter to be a separate and independent institution with its own trustees and officers.

The Savings Banks Act 1890 Amendment Act 1896 (No.1481) introduced several major changes. The Commissioners of Savings Banks and the Post Office Savings Banks were amalgamated, thereafter to be administered as the Savings Bank Department. A separate Advances Department (commonly known as the Credit Foncier Department) which had been operating since 1893 was also formally established. These two departments operated as independent institutions despite both being the responsibility of the Commissioners.

The 1896 Act was originally intended to establish a unified State Bank, hence the use of the term "Department", however all references to this unification were removed from the Bill before it was passed. This dual division exists today for accounting purposes but does not reflect administrative structure.

Further changes resultant from the 1896 legislation included provision for the appointment of an Inspector-General (to become, in 1923, the position of General Manager) through whom the Commissioners would exercise their control, as well as the transfer of responsibility for Savings Banks legislation from the Chief Secretary to the Treasurer, where it currently remains.

Between 1896 and 1912 the independent Savings Banks of Victoria merged to become a single institution and this development was formalized by the 1912 legislation.


Services offered by the Bank have included:

savings bank facilities
penny savings banks operating in State Schools (from 1912)
safe deposit facilities (from 1913)
special loans to discharged soldiers (from 1917)
building homes for people of small means (from 1920s), including the Garden City estate at Fisherman's Bend
Group Savings Club for workers in factories and offices (from 1927)
bursary trusts for students (from 1938)
accepting payment of electricity and gas accounts (from 1956)
Christmas Club (from 1964)
Credit Foncier facilities including mortgage loans and sale of debentures.

In addition, in 1989 the Bank purchased 49.9% of the Victorian Investment Corporation, previously a public unlisted company owned by the State Government (see VA 2986). This gave the Bank a role in investing capital in Victorian companies engaged in technological development.

by 1980 the Bank comprised many separate departments providing a full range of savings, trading and merchant bank services through its many branches and agencies (including interstate and international facilities). From1980 the Bank was known as the State Bank of Victoria under the provisions of the State Bank Act 1980 (No.9458).

The State Bank of Victoria established its own Archives under the provisions of section 14 of the Public Records Act 1973.

In 1990 the Bank was sold to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia under the State Bank (succession of Commonwealth Bank) Act 1990. The Commonwealth Bank became the succesor in law to the State Bank. All property, rights, entitlements and liabilities of the State Bank were transferred to the Commonwealth Bank, and the State Bank was dissolved.

After the sale, the Archives of the State Bank continued to operate until the Archives' holdings were transferred to PROV in 1995.

Data time period: [1912 TO 1990]

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