Here’s why the 90-year old CBA (ASX:CBA) school banking program is no longer

What’s going on with Australia’s largest bank?

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a small girl empties a piggy bank of coins onto a table while her mother looks on in the background.

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The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) school banking program is set to wrap up at the end of 2021. The popular scheme has helped children take their first steps in learning about money and reinforced the importance of saving.

However, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and some state and territory governments have decided to disconnect from the program.

Despite the negative news released on Sunday, CBA shares ended yesterday’s market session 0.55% higher to $105.46.

CBA moves youth financial education online

While losing key support to continue running its national program in schools, CBA will transition its educational tools to an online platform. This will provide teachers and parents with information about youth banking solutions and financial resources.

Established in 1931, CBA’s school banking program has connected with 15 million children across 1,450 schools in Australia.

A 2-year review conducted by ASIC concluded the scheme did little to help children improve their financial behaviour. The report noted that CBA’s program was nothing more than a ploy to gain new customers by using sophisticated advertising tactics.

As such, the New South Wales, Victorian, ACT, and Queensland governments have discontinued school banking programs.

CBA refuted the decision and indicated its own research went against the ASIC findings. It stated its research shows 95% of parents with a child believe it’s vital for kids to learn about money.

Nonetheless, CBA is set to pull the plug on the scheme at the end of the current school year. All educational resources are now available for teachers and parents in the new CommBank Youth Hub.

CBA group executive retail banking services Angus Sullivan commented:

For some time, we have been working with a range of experts to evolve our approach to financial education, and will have exciting new tools available to families in 2022 to empower parents and further support young people’s financial wellbeing in a digital world.

We continue to believe that financial capability is a critical part of every Australian child’s education and we will continue to work with teachers and parents to support them in this endeavour, now and into the future, both in the home and the classroom, as appropriate.

CBA share price snapshot

It has been a solid 12 months for CBA shares, rising by 51% despite moving in circles since mid-June. However, when looking at year to date, the company’s shares have travelled close to 30% higher.

Based on today’s price, CBA commands a market capitalisation of roughly $179.96 billion and has approximately 1.7 billion shares outstanding.

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Motley Fool contributor Aaron Teboneras has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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