What is a Bank State Branch?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2019
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The bank state branch (BSB) is a unique identifying code used in Australia and New Zealand to record information about branch locations of banks in a standardized way. This bank code is used for activities like electronic funds transfers and check clearing to facilitate the rapid and accurate communication of information about banks involved in the transaction. People can find the bank state branch on statements and other documents provided by their banks and can also ask bank personnel for assistance in locating it if they are having trouble.

The code contains six digits. The first two digits encode the identification of the parent company. A single digit following the first two denotes the state where a branch office is located and the final three digits correspond to a specific branch location. These codes are widely used by banks, although credit unions and building societies may not employ bank state branches because they are structured differently than conventional banks.

When a bank is sold or transferred, the bank state branch may remain the same so customer service is not interrupted, creating situations where the code for the parent bank is actually incorrect. The information associated with the number in the system will be accurate, however, ensuring that electronic banking activity such as a wire transfer to or from someone's bank account is properly recorded.


Any time people who bank in Australia and New Zealand fill out direct deposit or electronic funds transfer paperwork, they will need the bank state branch, as well as their own account number. If people cannot locate the code, they can call the bank to get it. Customers of building societies and credit unions may be advised that a bank state branch is not available for the institution they use, as such facilities are primarily geared towards local banking and may not have applied for and received a code.

People outside Australia who wish to transfer funds to or from a bank will need information about the bank state branch. The bank outside Australia should have a routing code or similar identifying number that can be used to conduct the transfer. It can take three to five days for overseas transfers to take effect, depending on the banks involved, and transfers requiring conversion between currencies may come with extra fees, which are usually passed on to the bank customer, rather than being absorbed by the bank.


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