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LAST UPDATED: April 22nd, 2021

IMB Banking and Financial Services was founded in Australia in 1880 under the name Illawarra Mutual Building Society (IMG). A building society (or mutual) is a financial institution owned by its members. Members usually do not contribute to the capital of the company by direct investment; rather they obtain their benefits through paying dues and fees. As an Australian Mutual Building Society, IMB’s purpose was-and is- to raise funds from its membership to provide common services to all members of the organization (or society). Today, IMB Bank is the longest standing Building Society in South Wales, celebrating 135 years in the business with branches in Sydney, the Illawarra, the NSW South Coast, ACT and Victoria. IMB offers products including home loans, personal loans, savings and transaction accounts, term deposits, business banking, financial planning as well as a variety of insurance products.


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The Good

  • Benefits and features
  • Better value banking
  • Business transaction account

Benefits and Features

IMB has a growing branch network throughout Australia, including the Illawarra, Sydney, NSW South Coast, the ACT and Melbourne. Australian members will benefit from IMB's:

  • Lending specialists in every branch
  • Team of mobile lending specialists who will come to members.
  • Access to over 3,000 ATMs that are free from direct-charge fees
  • Free automated phone and internet banking
  • Team of professionals who are just a phone call away at IMB's locally based call center.

Better Value Banking

IMB's main selling point is what they call Better Value Banking. Better Value Banking is the high quality of financial products, customer service and money saved by customers using IMB's financial products and services. It is categorized as the following: Better Service

  • IMB aims to provide the best personal service to its members. To make sure members are completely satisfied, they ask members to rate them regularly

Better Products

  • IMB offers members a wide range of competitive products including:low cost home loans
    • high interest investment options
    • budget-friendly transaction and savings accountscredit cards, debit cards, insurances, financial planning, Business Banking and much more
  • Better Value for Members
    • Approximately 75% of IMB members don't pay any transaction fees.
    • All automated phone and internet banking services are free.
    • All IMB members can earn a Member Transaction Allowance (MTA) to offset against any transaction fees they do incur.
    • Most savings and loan products carry no monthly account keeping fees delivering members a truly low fee everyday banking solution.

Business Transaction Account

IMB offers Business Owners what they call a Business Transaction Account. The IMB Business Transaction Account has been designed to:

  • Cater for the everyday needs of small to medium sized business owners and operators.
  • Function as a financial management tool, allowing customers to keep accurate records of their business transactions.

IMB Savings Accounts are intended to help members reach their goals faster by offering the following:

  • no monthly fees
  • convenient access methods such as:
    • online banking
    • mobile apps
    • local branches
    • EFTPOS
    • Phone banking
    • ATMs
    • IMB VISA Debit cards

Lastly, to improve customers' online privacy and protection, IMB offers members a digital wallet service through VISA called allows IMB members to:

  •  Securely store their existing Visa and other payment cards
  •  Store and use multiple shipping addresses
  •  Set transaction alerts for Visa cards based on spending thresholds and other criteria
  •  Opt-in to additional services over time, such as real-time offers.

The Bad

  • Membership transaction allowance
  • Fees
  • Daily spending limit

Membership Transaction Allowance

As a Mutual Building Society, IMB is structured differently than a regular commercial bank. Through a system called a Membership Transaction Allowance, members are active financial participants in their banking, savings and loans institution. This however, may not be the best and most advantageous option for customers in need of basic personal and/or business banking.  IMB does also not offer personal checking accounts and Certificates of Deposit (CDs).


If someone chooses to become an IMB member, there is a VERY long and intricate list of fees which members will have a hard time keeping track of. These fees include:
  • Government taxes
  • Specific bank charges imposed on IMB
  • Cost of special services provided to members
  • Transaction fees
  • Administrative costs related to subpoenas and garnishing orders
  • Maintenance fees (in some cases)
  • Default fees
  • Default notice fee
  • Direct Debit Dishonor (Dishonor) Fee (Inward)
  • Direct Debit Dishonor (DIshonor) Fee (Outward)
  • Direct Credit Dishonor  (Dishonor) Fee
  • Periodical Payment Dishonor (Dishonor) Fee
  • Honor (Honor) Fee
Services and fees are NOT offset by the Membership Transaction Allowance.

Daily Spending Limit

The daily spending limit for all Visa Debit Cards is $10,000 per card per day-not including cash withdrawals at ATMs or Visa Cash Advances This limit can and will be reduced depending on the country members are making a purchase, applying to both offline and online shopping. For example, if members are traveling and making purchases in the United States, the US limit is $5,000 per card per day.
  • Monthly fee of $1.60 per month
  • 85 cents fee per debit transaction. Can be avoided by using credit option when making purchase.

The Bottom Line

For more than 135 years, IMB has been in existence as an Australian Mutual Building Society.  As a mutual financial institution, it raises funds from its members to service the community of members as a whole. The downside to this is that every cost has to be financed by the members. There is a very lengthy list of fees on everything from transaction fees, maintenance fees to Honor fees and government tax fees. IMB's flagship offer is what it calls Better Value Banking-a higher caliber of financial products and services to best meet the needs of its members. One such example is, a digital wallet service providing protection and convenience for IMB members doing online transactions. With no personal accounts offered for checking, retirement or Certificate of Deposit (CD), IMB's Savings account appears to be a more cost-effective offer with no monthly maintenance fees and  mostly free transactions and services.
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