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Our History

Our History

The story of Cairns Bank dates back to April 1899 when a group of like-minded individuals agreed to establish a local financial institution to cater for the needs of the Cairns region, thus establishing “the Cairns Weekly Penny Savings Bank”.

Throughout the years the name changed a few times including The Cairns Cooperative Weekly Penny Savings Bank in 1946 following the introduction of the Cooperative Societies Act. In 1987 it was agreed to drop the word “Weekly” from the name and change the brand to The Cairns Cooperative Penny Savings Bank. Upon application for the new name, Treasury responded that it would consent only if the word “Bank” was also dropped from the name. This prompted a review and negotiation with the name ultimately approved, subject to strict conditions, as Cairns Penny Bank. In 2004, unable to keep within the size restrictions that had been imposed, the name was changed to Cairns Penny Savings & Loans Limited. In 2018, the Banking Act was changed, altering restrictions on the use of the word bank by an ADI. In 2020, we took the opportunity to commence trading under the name Cairns Bank.

Unlike its competitors, Cairns Bank is owned by the people of the region, and its policy is determined by the members of a Board of Directors, the majority of whom live and work in the region. This places the Bank in the unique position of “having a finger on the pulse” of the region’s economy. The decisions of the directors are therefore premised on what is best for its customers, and not on what is best for the national policy of a conglomerate bank.

In an era when the traditional banking system is being publicly criticised for cutting personalised services to its customers throughout Australia, and focusing on profits over people, Cairns Bank maintains its commitment to personalised banking, regardless of the size or wealth of the customer.

Since it commenced operations in 1899, Cairns Bank has provided a continuous service to the people of Cairns and region sharing the burdens of economic depressions with its customers and helping them manage their funds when the good times returned.

Cairns Bank has resisted the change in culture by the conventional banking system, which has replaced “customers” with “consumers”, and which has seen service give way to product. The original concept of the bank, to encourage thrift and savings, and to help customers attain their goals in a safe economic environment, has remained intact. Although the concept of a “family relationship” between bank and customer has been abandoned by its competitors, the people of the Cairns district have voted in favor of personalised service by supporting Cairns Bank.