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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. This development was formalized by the Savings Banks Act 1912 (No.2365) which provided for all banks then operating under the Savings Banks Acts to be collectively named The State Savings Bank of Victoria.
Services offered by the State Savings 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)
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.
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). From 1980 the Bank was known as the State Bank of Victoria under the provisions of the State Bank Act 1980 (No.9458).
In 1990 1991 the State Bank was sold to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia .