BANKING SYSTEM IN AUSTRALIA
The Australian financial system consists of commercial banks and merchant/investment banks (including branches and subsidiaries of foreign banks) and other financial intermediaries. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is the regulator which determines whether to authorize a company to conduct banking business. A company authorized by APRA is known as an Authorized Deposit-taking Institution (ADI). ADI may also be required to hold an Australian financial services license.
Banks provide the range of services usually found in developed countries, including short-term wholesale finance, and securities underwriting and placement. Certain specialist banks provide assistance in areas such as resource and industry development.
A foreign bank which wishes to conduct banking business in Australia may operate either through an authorized branch or an authorized locally-incorporated subsidiary. Authorized foreign bank subsidiaries can engage in the full range of banking business in Australia, but authorized foreign bank branches in Australia are prohibited from engaging in retail banking (namely, taking deposits of less than A$250,000 from the public).
A foreign bank which does not wish to conduct banking business in Australia but wishes to have an Australian representative office to provide liaison services to Australian customers in relation to its offshore banking services must obtain consent from APRA. It will also be required by APRA to register with ASIC as carrying on business in Australia.
Foreign enterprises have the same access to the Australian capital markets as local enterprises. Foreign governments, their agencies and international organizations may also access the Australian capital markets subject to certain conditions.
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