A big four bank has announced that it will offer Australian babies born in 2017 a $200 contribution into their savings accounts, which they will be able to access when they turn 16 years old.
Westpac's 'Bump' initiative, which has been announced to celebrate the bank's 200th anniversary, will provide the opportunity for Australian babies born between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 to receive a $200 contribution into their own Bump Savings account opened during the same period (with a grace period until 31 May 2018).
It has been launched "to encourage positive savings habits early in life for the 300,000 babies expected to be born during this period, and to help parents and grandparents kick-start a brighter financial future for the next generation of Australians".
The $200 contributions will begin to be deposited into the accounts of registered babies from 8 April 2017, and will continue for the remainder of the year.
George Frazis, chief executive for consumer bank at Westpac Group, said the initiative reflects Westpac’s commitment to supporting the future of Australia, by providing a helping hand to parents and grandparents to instil positive financial habits in their children from a young age.
"The Bump initiative helps Westpac to mark the beginning of our bicentennial year in the best way possible – by investing in the next generation of Australians and inspiring good savings habits with the potential to have a lifelong impact.
"Setting up our future generations for success will help Australia to thrive. Teaching children to save from an early age is known to have a positive impact on future financial stability, so we're encouraging all parents and grandparents to help kick-start this learning process and help them start preparing for a brighter future."
He added: "By building on an initial $200 deposit at birth with a $20 contribution every week, for example, will potentially amass approximately $19,000 in savings by the time the child turns 16. That's a significant financial head start for any child and can be put towards future education, life experiences such as a gap year or a deposit on a first home."
Westpac has said it expects about a quarter of the babies born this year to take up the offer.