It also boasts what is currently one of the nation’s highest savings account interest rates, offering an introductory rate of 5.75% p.a. at the time of writing. 

That rate is available for the first four months on its aptly named High Interest Savings Account. 

It has seen the bank garner attention from everyday depositors and self-managed super fund (SMFS) investors alike, as well as a raft of Aussies leaning to term deposits in the current climate. 

Though, if you’re looking for a home loan or car loan, Rabobank ain’t your institution.

It lends exclusively to farmers and those in the agriculture business. 

So what is the agricultural finance giant and why is it among those leading the way when it comes to at-call returns for everyday consumers? The answer is an interesting one.

From tulips to wheat fields: Rabobank's global journey

Rabobank started life around 125 years ago in the tulip-clad Netherlands, far from Australia’s red plains and pristine beaches.

And it didn’t start out the way many might assume. 

See, Rabobank isn’t a traditional bank. Rather, it is a co-operative.

“It was really farmers trying to support other farmers,” Rabobank head of online savings Julie Blanchard told Savings.com.au .

“Farmers were trying to go to banks at the time to seek funding for growth and were having difficulty being able to meet the requirements of financial institutions.

“So Rabobank was born.”

Its co-operative structure means Rabobank doesn’t have shareholders, unlike the majority of Australia’s larger banks. 

Most banks in Australia are either listed on the stock market, meaning their profits go to shareholders, or are mutual banks, the profits of which aim to aid those who bank with them.

Rabobank’s profits, on the other hand, go to supporting the agriculture industry that feeds us and the world.

That same industry contributed $56 billion of value-added GDP to the economy in 2022-23 and provides more than 90% of the fruit, vegetables, meat, milk, and eggs sold in Australian supermarkets.

“We’re trying to stick to that heritage, the values, and the brand proposition of what we set out to do all those years ago in the Netherlands: Supporting rural and agricultural businesses to grow and flourish in a pretty challenging environment,” Ms Blanchard said.

'Challenging’; a choice word encapsulating what it can be to work the stunning and volatile land down under. 

Australia often seems to be a magnet for natural catastrophe.

Living memory encompasses near-countless droughts, fires, cyclones, and floods. 

Australians are regularly praised for their resilience and adaptability in the face of such challenges. However, those characteristics are greatly enhanced by support.

Rabobank's unique structure provides more than just a financial leg up to the agricultural sector. 

It fosters a deep understanding of the nuances and challenges facing farmers – a feat that’s especially important in a place as diverse as Australia.

Supporting farmers, rewarding savers

Every single dollar deposited into a Rabobank savings account or term deposit goes to funding loans offered to the people on the ground of Australian agriculture. 

That’s one pretty good reason to bank with the Dutch giant, and there are many more.

In fact, there are 575.

That’s how many basis points of annual return is currently on offer to new depositors for the first four months of them opening a high interest savings account with the bank – 5.75% p.a. (for balances under $250,000).

On the first day of the fifth month, however, a saver with less than $250,000 deposited would begin to realise a rate of 4.40% p.a. – still competitive, but no longer one of the highest rates on offer on the market.

At that point, they might turn their attention to one of Rabobank’s other products. 

Perhaps one of its Notice Saver accounts, which lock funds away for a period of 31, 60, or 90 days and currently offer rates as high as 5.25% p.a. 

Its PremiumSaver account, meanwhile, promises a 5.10% p.a. return, as long as a depositor grows their balance by at least $200 a month.

“We're making sure we've got deposits flowing through the door to lend back out to the farmers and agri-businesses that we’re supporting,” Ms Blanchard said.

“Part of that is making sure that we've got really strong alternatives for customers when their intro rate expires.

“So if they did come in on an intro rate, they have a range of really good options available to them – notice savers, PremiumSavers, and term deposits – that make their investment with Rabobank a seamless and positive experience.”

Though, as any savings account or term deposit enthusiast will tell you, interest rates can and do change quickly, and market leaders typically steal the coveted title from one another on a regular basis.

But no matter what the competition is doing, Rabobank currently aims to keep its rates among the highest offered in Australia, Ms Blanchard said. 


Need somewhere to store cash and earn interest? The table below features savings accounts with some of the highest interest rates on the market.

Provider

4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]
More details
  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance

High Interest Savings Account (< $250k)

  • Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
  • No account keeping fees
  • No minimum balance
010000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]
More details

Saver Account (<$250k)

    4000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]
    More details
    • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
    • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties
    • Save up to 10% on eGift cards at over 50 retailers with Macquarie Marketplace

    Savings Account (Amounts < $250k)

    • A high-interest online savings account with no monthly fees, easy withdrawals and award-winning digital banking
    • No withdrawal notice periods or interest rate penalties
    • Save up to 10% on eGift cards at over 50 retailers with Macquarie Marketplace
    000$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]$product[$field["value"]]
    More details
    *Rate varies on savings amount
    • Deposit $500 per month to get bonus interest
    • 5.50% p.a. available on total savings up to $100k.
    • 5.00% p.a. applies to savings between $100k-250K.
    • Tiered bonus rates apply. (TMDs at ubank.com.au)
    *Rate varies on savings amount

    Save Account (>$100,000)

    • Deposit $500 per month to get bonus interest
    • 5.50% p.a. available on total savings up to $100k.
    • 5.00% p.a. applies to savings between $100k-250K.
    • Tiered bonus rates apply. (TMDs at ubank.com.au)
    Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

    All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here. Rates correct as of July 19, 2024. View disclaimer.


    Beyond banking: The role Rabobank plays in the lives of farmers 

    Rabobank takes its position as a co-operative for farmers seriously, even providing insights on the industry from its leading experts. 

    “Rabobank has experts that understand the avocado industry, the almond industry,” Ms Blanchard said.

    “In terms of industry nuances and regional and global happenings, we've got the expertise.”

    RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness is made up of an international team of specialists and includes a division specifically analysing the Australian market.

    It uses the resulting insights to support clients working on the land in their decision making. 

    “Every customer I've spoken to on the country banking side absolutely values their relationship with their bank,” Ms Blanchard said.

    “They see it as a partnership, and that is very, very unique in this part of the market.”

    Like a supportive partner would, the bank also facilitates a number of initiatives that provide the space for farmers to cooperate with one another or reach out for help.

    The Rabobank Client Council network exists in seven regions encompassing most of the nation.

    Small groups of clients meet within each network to explore and analyse various hurdles faced by their industry and their local communities.

    Its clients also steer the Rabo Community Fund, which aims to elevate local grassroots initiatives in regional and rural Australia.

    “We’re here through thick and thin,” Ms Blanchard said. 

    “We've had a lot of feedback that other banks are very active [in communities] when things are going great [for farmers], and then as soon as things take a turn, they’re out the door quickly.

    “We're not in and out of the rural community, and that's something that communities value and respect.”

    The path to sustainability 

    Of course, in recent decades supporting farmers is often synonymous with supporting sustainable practices. 

    ABARES modelling estimates that average farm profits have tumbled 23%, around $29,200 per farm, on the back of changes in seasonal conditions, over the period from 2001 to 2020 relative to 1950 to 2000.

    Rabobank offers those in the agriculture space help to future-proof their businesses through financial assistance, as well as knowledge, education, and sector partnerships. 

    The last two years has seen the bank deliver 55 carbon workshops to more than 1,200 primary producers.

    It has also partnered with Saveful to help everyday Australians reduce their food waste. 

    Catering to savers, not borrowers

    Speaking of everyday Australians, depositors probably won’t be able to conduct all their banking with Rabobank. 

    Its deposit products are the only offerings it provides to the masses. 

    Those seeking a loan for a home, car, or another use will have to seek funding elsewhere. 

    Additionally, those who rely on in-branch or app-based banking likely won’t find Rabobank a good fit for their needs at this point in time. 

    “We're not a full-service bank,” Ms Blanchard said. “For our deposit business, it's predominantly online.

    “We're targeting high-interest savers looking for a really good return, who don't need a lot of transactional banking capability.

    “As we start to look forward to what's happening in the banking space, mobile apps and the ability to make payments real-time, that's something we're still working towards.”

    Speaking of looking forward, Rabobank’s future steps will be largely determined by feedback received from its base of farmers. 

    Ms Blanchard noted the bank is focused on ensuring it’s “got all the fundamentals right”. 

    It’s working to meet all the needs of its borrowers, as well as those funding the loans it provides farmers. 

    Thus, it will continue aiming to offer one of the most competitive savings account interest rates in the market.

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