Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Christian origin of Australian financial institutions

By Michael Jensen - posted Tuesday, 12 June 2018

With the Banking Royal Commission bringing out fresh revelations of misdoings by the day, and with the laying of criminal charges yesterday against several senior banking executives in ANZ, Citigroup, and Deutsche Bank, the standing of our financial institutions has never been lower.

There's been evidence of woeful conduct, including allegations of bribery, selling insurance to those who can't afford it, charging fees to clients who are actually dead, and outright lying to regulators.

And this not was from no-name smaller banks operating out of a car boot.


This was the biggest and most trusted names in the pantheon of Australian banking: AMP, and the Commonwealth.

That's what we know so far.

In an era when our big corporations are more and more anxiously branding themselves as supporters of socially progressive causes, the reality is that they are hollow inside.

So you'd be shocked to discover that Australia's great financial institutions were founded by Christians who had a vision of their work as serving the greater good.

In 1877, when the AMP building's foundation stone was laid, the chairman John Smith spoke directly about the religious purpose of the AMP. He said to the assembled throng:

"… our institution is pre-eminently religious and benevolent. Are we not told on the best authority that a necessary characteristic of true religion is to visit the fatherless and the widow in the affliction? And does not this society signally fulfil that indication?"


Smith was quoting directly from the New Testament. He went on

"This society then enables a man to perform essential religious duties, and if not religious itself, it is the medium or instrument of religion in its members."

The AMP wasn't just supporting a popular cause. It was an instrument of social good. It could help you do your duty to look after those who need it most. You might go to church to hear the message of kindness and generosity to those in need, but you could find in the AMP the means to practice that faith.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

13 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Michael Jensen is the rector of St Mark's Anglican Church at Darling Point. He has a doctorate in Moral Theology from Oxford University.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Michael Jensen

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 13 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy