Banking refers to the business of accepting and safeguarding deposits, and making loans and other investments. Banks are financial institutions that provide a wide range of services to individuals, businesses and organizations, including accepting deposits, making loans, and facilitating transactions such as electronic payments.
In Australia, banking is regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) which is responsible for the prudential supervision of all banks, credit unions, building societies, and general insurance and reinsurance companies. APRA's main objective is to maintain the safety and soundness of the financial system, and to protect the depositors and policyholders of those institutions.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is also responsible for the regulation of the conduct of banks and other financial services providers, including ensuring that they comply with consumer protection and other laws.
The laws that apply to banks in Australia include:
- The Banking Act of 1959: which establishes the framework for the regulation of banks and other deposit-taking institutions in Australia.
- The Corporations Act of 2001: which regulates the conduct of banks and other financial services providers, including the provision of financial products and services, and the protection of consumers.
- The National Consumer Credit Protection Act of 2009: which regulates the provision of credit by banks and other credit providers, including the protection of consumers from predatory lending practices.
- The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act of 2006: which requires banks and other financial institutions to take measures to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism.