The Australian Banking Association traces its history back to the late 1940s when a national organisation was formed to oppose a Government proposal to nationalise the banking system. Since then, it has taken on many roles and responsibilities on behalf of its membership, but the modern organisation reflects major restructures that occurred in 1985 and 1997. In the mid-1980s it was decided that the ABA’s role was too limited and that it would be broadened in favour of having a fully representative organisation of all licensed banks in Australia. Three existing organisations were merged to form the new association. Those organisations were the Australian Banking Association-Research Directorate, the Australian Banking Association and a Banking Education Service. Subsequently, the Banks’ Industrial Association was also integrated into the ABA.
A new constitution was drafted in 1985, and in 1997 there were further changes to the mission of the ABA to focus the association on its principal benefits to members, that is, an advocate for the banking industry when dealing with Governments, the media and public. In 2014, the ABA underwent a process of review and renewal to ensure the banking industry is recognised widely as an essential and responsible contributor to Australia’s prosperity.