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Things Fall Apart: A History of the State Bank of South Australia
In an era of deregulation and high inflation the State Bank of South Australia an overnight success, but beneath the bank's newly built facade were deep-set problems. The magnitude of these problems was revealed to a shocked South Australian public on Sunday 10 February 1991, when Premier Bannom announced that the SBSA had to be rescued by the taxpayers to the sum of $970 million. This alarming figure subsequently increased to a total indemnity of $3.1 billion. In six years of 'optimistic' lending the SBSA managers effectively undid the 150-year history of conservative public banking in South Australia.
Things Fall Apart traces the joint history of the Savings bank of South Australia, formed in 1848, and the State Bank of South Australia in 1896. These two banks played major roles in the lives of most South Australians, weathering the storms of two World Wars and the Great Depression. The second part of the book discloses how a tradition of conservative banking was transformed into a culture of risk when the two public banks were merged to form the new State Bank of South Australia in 1984.
Greg McCarthy was given exclusive access to the records of the Savings Bank of South Australia and the old State Bank of South Australia. His research provides the historical context for an insightful 'post-mortem' account of the most dramatic events in South Australian economic history.
Dr Greg McCarthy has been a teacher and researcher in the Politics Department of the Univerity of Adelaide since 1987. He has published widely in the fields of South Australian Politics, Public Policy and Cultural Theory.