The Commonwealth Bank Group

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) was founded as an Australian Government bank in 1911, and was privatised in 1996 to become one the “Big Four” banks in Australia. It is the largest Australian listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), and is the largest bank in the southern hemisphere with brands including Bank West, Colonial First State and CommSec.

The Challenge & How We Tackle It

The Commonwealth Bank Group strategic vision is “To excel at securing and enhancing the financial wellbeing of people, businesses and communities.“

Both CBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy and their Reconciliation Action Plan are strategically aligned to this vision and CBA were aware of the need to better understand and improve the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, businesses and communities.

The challenge was to increase CBA’s understanding of the cultural capability required for the organisation to enhance its relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

The Commonwealth Bank Group engaged Aboriginal Elders from The BlackCard and Helene George of Creative Economy to develop a Cultural Capability Framework.

The Cultural Capability Framework was developed using an Aboriginal Terms of Reference based on a worldview of Aboriginal philosophy, logic and knowledge combined with Creative Economy’s methodology that redefines the economy as a linkage and balance of social, cultural and economic outcomes.

The framework introduced people to a different way of thinking and being and includes a cultural continuum describing six stages in reaching cultural capability and recommendations for enhancing cultural capability at Commonwealth Bank. Cultural Capability is about operating fully within an Aboriginal Terms of Reference to improve ethical behaviour and improve relationships between all people.

The Result

The CBA Cultural Capability Framework informs strategies to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s inclusion in the Group’s vision. 

Cultural Capability Training and Accreditation now forms part of workforce development.

A team of accredited Indigenous Banking Specialists provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations with a personalised service that recognises their unique circumstances.

 A dedicated Indigenous careers team supports growing talent internally and continuing to maintain an inclusive workplace where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees can thrive.

A target is set to reach employment parity - 3% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation across the Group - by December 2026 and 1.5% by 2020.

CBA role models reconciliation with Reconciliation Australia awarding the CBA Reconciliation Plan Elevate status, its highest level.

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