Banking licence in Australia - YB Case 2024

Banking licence in Australia

Banking licence in Australia

In contemporary economic systems, the banking industry is pivotal for ensuring stability and promoting growth, serving as the cornerstone for both domestic and international monetary exchanges. For entities aiming to undertake banking operations within Australia, securing a licensing permit is not merely a statutory necessity but also a crucial step in establishing credibility with customers and stakeholders. Possession of a licence confirms that the bank adheres to the stringent criteria of governance, financial stability, integrity, and transparency mandated by Australian regulatory bodies. This certification not only grants access to a diverse array of banking activities and services but also qualifies the institution to partake in the Australian deposit guarantee scheme, an appealing feature for attracting deposit inflows.

The objective of this document is to delineate a thorough outline of the procedure for acquiring a banking licence in Australia, elucidating the regulatory framework, the various licence categories, application phases, and evaluation benchmarks.

Overview of the Australian banking framework

The banking sector is integral to the Australian economy, underpinning sustainable economic progress and expansion. Comprising a broad spectrum of financial entities, including commercial banks, investment banks, and credit unions, the sector plays a vital role in channelling savings into investment capital, thereby financing both private and public sector projects. Furthermore, the banking system is instrumental in managing national monetary policies and sustaining economic equilibrium, thus averting financial turmoil through mechanisms like deposit insurance and the oversight of financial entities.

The significance of a banking licence for operating in the banking sector

Australia, similar to numerous other nations, enforces stringent regulation over its banking sector, necessitating a specific licence for conducting banking transactions. This regulatory approach ensures the protection of depositor and consumer rights within banking services, while also bolstering reliability and stability in the financial market.

Obtaining a banking licence in Australia authorizes a financial institution to provide an extensive suite of banking services, which include:

  • Receiving deposits and executing payment operations.
  • Foreign currency trading.
  • Providing financial advisory services.
  • Engaging in investment activities.
  • Managing operations with cryptocurrencies.

Categories of banking licences in Australia

APRA delineates two primary categories of banking licences: Authorised and restricted deposit-taking institution (ADI & RADI). Each licence type is tailored to the specific requirements of different financial entities.

An ADI offers a broad spectrum of banking services, including accepting public deposits, extending credit, and facilitating payment transactions. To secure an ADI licence, entities must adhere to APRA’s rigorous standards for capital adequacy, liquidity, and risk management. This licence is best suited for substantial financial institutions that possess a wide network capable of delivering exhaustive banking solutions.

Conversely, the RADI licence caters to emerging players in the banking arena, including fintech startups aiming to partake in banking activities without yet meeting the full criteria required for an ADI licence. This licence permits a narrower range of transactions and imposes more flexible capital and risk management requirements. Holders of the RADI licence are granted a two-year timeframe to align with APRA’s stricter regulations.

International banks seeking to operate within Australia through branches or subsidiaries are eligible for specialised licences, which impose certain limitations, such as restrictions on accepting initial deposits from individuals and non-corporate entities beneath a specified threshold. Subsidiaries of international banks may qualify for a standard ADI licence upon meeting all requisite APRA standards.

The distinction between ADI and RADI licences lies in the permitted transaction scope, capitalisation and risk management norms, intended clientele, and the duration provided to demonstrate compliance with prudential regulations. This categorisation reflects APRA’s commitment to offering regulatory flexibility, fostering innovative financial solutions and technologies, while ensuring stringent oversight to maintain a secure and stable financial landscape.

Procedure for securing banking licences

The pathway to obtaining banking licences in Australia involves a multi-stage, intricate process that demands thorough preparation and proactive engagement with APRA. Below are the principal steps involved:

Phase 1:

Preliminary preparation and analysis

  • Market and business concept evaluation: applicants are required to perform a comprehensive analysis of their business strategy, targeted market segments, and prospective customer base to validate the viability and sustainability of their proposed services.
  • Prudential standard assessment: this evaluation focuses on the entity’s ability to fulfil APRA’s criteria concerning capital adequacy, liquidity, risk management, and corporate governance.
Phase 2:

Application compilation and submission

  • Application development: this phase entails the formulation of an application dossier, encompassing a detailed business plan, financial projections, risk management frameworks, and information regarding management and financial personnel.
  • Submission of supplementary documentation: as requested by APRA, additional documents such as legal paperwork, internal audit and risk management policies, and proof of capital adequacy compliance may be required.
Phase 3:

Regulatory compliance assessment

  • Documentation and business plan review: APRA conducts an evaluation of the submitted documents against its prudential rules and benchmarks.
  • Management evaluation: APRA examines the qualifications and expertise of key management and financial officers to ensure effective bank management.
Phase 4:

Inspection and verification

  • On-site inspections and executive interviews: APRA might undertake site visits and hold discussions with senior management to meticulously inspect the submitted information and evaluate the operational infrastructure.
  • Risk management evaluation: emphasis is placed on scrutinizing the risk management strategies and the financial institution’s capacity to manage potential risks effectively.
Phase 5:

Licence issuance and registration

  • APRA decision: upon a comprehensive review of all application facets, APRA decides on the issuance of a banking licence. This procedure can extend over several months, contingent on the application’s complexity and the efficacy of interactions with the applicant.
  • Licence grant: if approved, APRA issues an Australian banking licence, enabling the institution to commence operations in accordance with Australian banking and financial regulations.

Documentation requirements

The process of obtaining a banking licence in Australia necessitates the submission of specific documents to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). These documents equip APRA with the requisite data to evaluate the applicant's adherence to the regulatory norms and criteria.

Below is a comprehensive list of documents generally required during the application phase:


Document type


Foundational documents

Certificate of Incorporation

Verifies the legal formation of the company under Australian legislation.

Charter and Other Foundational Documents

Detail the governance framework, stakeholder rights and responsibilities, and principal operational domains.

Strategic business plan for 3 years

Enterprise strategy justification

Outlines the company’s objectives, target market, offered products and services, and strategic growth and development plans.

Financial projections

Estimates anticipated revenues, expenditures, profits, and cash flows.

Market and competitive analysis

Assesses potential customer interest in offerings and conducts a competitive landscape review.

Risk management documentation

Risk management strategies

Documentation describing methodologies for risk identification, evaluation, monitoring, and mitigation.

Emergency response frameworks

Plans that address financial and operational contingencies.

Documents for international banking entities

Parent bank profile and history

Provides a synopsis of the parent bank’s historical background, key operational areas, and financial health.

Financial statements

Recent fiscal reports that attest to the parent bank’s stability and soundness.

Capital verification

Proof of capital adequacy

Documentation evidencing sufficient initial capital to satisfy APRA’s stipulations, including a thorough assessment of capital sources and adequacy for covering initial operations and risk management.

The critical aspect of the licensing process is the meticulous preparation and submission of all necessary documentation. It is imperative to ensure the authenticity and completeness of the data provided, as this can expedite the review process and enhance the likelihood of obtaining the banking licence approval.

Benefits of applying for a banking licence in Australia

Securing a banking licence in Australia provides numerous advantages, underscoring the conducive business climate and regulatory environment prevalent in the country.

  1. Possession of a banking licence in Australia grants entry to one of the largest and most stable financial markets globally. Characterized by a robust and competitive economy, Australia offers promising opportunities for banking sector growth.
  2. Holding a banking licence in Australia signifies adherence to stringent national banking standards, encompassing rigorous financial reporting, legality, and transparency. This accreditation bolsters customer and investor trust in your institution.
  3. The Australian banking system is renowned for its stability and dependability, attributes supported by robust regulatory measures and an effective financial oversight framework. Licensed banks benefit from this environment, enhancing their ability to attract deposits and investments.
  4. The esteemed reputation of the Australian financial sector facilitates licensed banks' access to global capital and funding markets. This advantage aids in the expansion and scaling of business operations.
  5. The banking sector in Australia provides ample opportunities for career and professional growth, enabling licensed institutions to recruit top-tier professionals and embrace innovative practices. This dynamic fosters organizational development and enhances competitive edge.

These attributes render the acquisition of a banking licence in Australia a strategic decision for financial entities aiming to expand their presence and achieve sustained growth on the international stage.

The regulative context

The nation's banking sector is regulated by multiple entities, each playing a crucial role in ensuring the robustness, transparency, and equity of the financial system.


Role and responsibilities


Oversees authorized deposit-taking institutions, superannuation funds, and insurance companies to ensure financial resilience. Dedicated to preventing financial disruptions and protecting the interests of savers and policyholders.


Primary regulatory authority for corporations, regulating banking services and the broader market to ensure fairness and transparency. Protects investor and consumer rights, monitors business operations, financial markets, audits, and professional standards in the investment sector.


Central in shaping the country's monetary policy, maintaining financial sector stability, and ensuring payment system efficiency. It does not regulate banks directly but plays a crucial role in maintaining economic stability and public confidence.


Enforces legislation within the competition and consumer protection segment of the financial sector.


Focuses on countering money laundering and terrorism financing through the analysis of financial transactions.

Corporations Act

Governs corporate activities in Australia, setting criteria for business conduct, corporate governance, financial reporting, and trading in financial markets. Licenses and regulatory criteria for financial institutions are enforced by ASIC.

Banking Act

Provides the legal framework for banks' operation in Australia, enabling APRA to regulate depository institutions. Establishes banking licenses and requirements for capital levels, liquidity, and risk management.

YB CASE is delighted to extend our expertise for the acquisition of a banking licence in Australia. Our dedicated team of experts is equipped to offer exhaustive support throughout each phase of this intricate procedure. Recognizing the complexities and demands of securing a banking licence, we are prepared to undertake all essential tasks, enabling you to concentrate on your principal business goals.

Our track record of experience and professionalism is aimed at reducing risks and ensuring the successful fulfilment of the licensing process. We are dedicated to your achievement and are available to provide informed insights and guidance on all aspects pertaining to banking licensing in Australia. Engaging with us guarantees access to premium service and a meticulous approach tailored to your requirements.

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