Standard Bank Offshore, a member of Standard Bank Group, has improved its international banking services for expatriates with the addition of an Australian dollar (AUD) version of its popular Optimum banking account.
The account pays up to 2.95% gross/AER (annual equivalent rate) credit interest and includes an Australian dollar Visa debit card.
The minimum balance required to open the account is just AUD5,000 and, as long as the minimum balance is maintained, there are no account maintenance fees. Furthermore, and unlike many international banks,there is no requirement to earn a minimum level of income to open the account.
The addition of the Australian Dollar variant means that the Optimum account is now available in four currencies including US dollar, euro and sterling. The Optimum Bank Account provides a comprehensive service including a range of international payment options and FX facilities. Account holders can manage their finances via post, fax, telephone banking and 24/7 internet banking via the banks secure online banking service, International Online.
John Coyle, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Bank Isle of Man, says: "Australian interest rates are currently very competitive and demand from Expats for banking facilities in Australian dollars is increasing all the time.
Our new Australian Dollar Optimum Bank Account offers both excellent interest rates and 24/7 access via secure internet banking. Coupled with our new Visa debit card we expect this product to be very well received by our clients in Asia and South Africa, in addition to thoseindividuals with family in Australia who visit the country regularly and want the convenience of banking facilities in the local currency."
He adds: "This new account enhances our client offering within a marketplace where Australian dollar accounts are few and far between. By launching this we are ensuring that clients have the opportunity to bank in the currency of theirchoice, and specifically one that offers stability during the current economic climate."
Mr Coyle explains Standard Bank Group's reasoning behind this launch: "A search of international bank account providers in the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey revealed a dearth of banks able to offer day-to-day banking in Australian dollars. However, whilst much of the world has been engulfed in financial turmoil, Australia has been steadily going about its business and today occupies an enviable position amongst the world's leading economies.
"Prior to the financial crisis Australia grew its economy for 17 consecutive years. During the crisis, the Government used a combination of fiscal stimulus and low interest rates which, when coupled with continued demand for commodities, especially from China, has helped the Australian economy rebound strongly, growing by 1.2% during 2009 and by 3.3% in 2010.
"Low unemployment, (which peaked at 5.7% in late 2009 and fell to 5.1% in 2010) has created an attractive destination for expatriates, particularly from other southern hemisphere nations such as South Africa, from where Standard Bank Group originates.
Indeed both South Africa and Australia hold an abundance of natural resources which attract high levels of foreign investment. It is these cross border flows which revealed Australia as a leading destination for expatriates and their currency."
Interest rates on Optimum account as at 6 June 2011
$0 - $4,999 0.00% p.a.
$5,000 - $49,999 1.45% p.a.
$50,000 - $99,999 1.95% p.a.
$100,000 - $249,999 2.45% p.a.
$250,000 and over 2.95% p.a.
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