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While many Australians do not directly deal with Macquarie Bank on a day-to-day basis, the vast majority have heard of the nation's biggest merchant bank and financial services group.
Founded in 1969, the bank was originally named Hill Samuel Australia, a subsidiary of the UK-based Hill Samuel - which had close ties to the Shell Corporation. In 1986, the name of pioneer Lachlan Macquarie was adopted to break away from its British roots.
Since then, Macquarie Bank has branched out into seven different areas, including investment banking, real estate and banking and securitisation.
It is now a major global player in corporate investments and wealth management and, while most of its business its still in Australia, Macquarie has significant influence in the US, the UK and the Middle East.
In recent years, Macquarie has opened a chain of banking branches, much like those of its rivals, such as National Australia Bank. Through these branches, Macquarie now offers credit card deals, personal loans and mortgage packages.
Anticipating 2008's financial results, Macquarie chief executive officer Allan Moss said: Macquarie remains very profitable, well capitalised and well-funded.
Overall activity remained reasonable during the quarter despite volatile market conditions. Macquarie continues to pursue strategic growth initiatives.
However, Macquarie has not been short of controversy in recent years. In 2007, then prime minister John Howard called a $33 million bonus given to Mr Moss as over the top, while the prominent positions of politicians within the bank's board has also been questioned.
Economists at Australian banking major ANZ are predicting that the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut the official cash rate to as low as 2 per cent by the end of next year, arguing that it may be more prudent for the government to back away from its budget surplus plans.
The economists are basing their prediction on the back of a weak Australian economy and modest gains in the global economic outlook.
The latest retail forecasts are projecting that Australians will spend approximately $32 billon over Christmas, with the average spend per person estimated to be $1200.
The forecast represents an increase over past years and is a major bonus for the retail industry which over the last few years has felt “more Grinch than Santa” according to Margy Osmand, the chief executive of the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA)
The extremely detested surcharge that consumers are hit with when paying for a cab ride using a credit or debit card is unlikely to survive into the new year if the Australian central bank has its way.
The Reserve Bank has revised the rules regarding surcharges which are effective next year, tightening the language and making it explicit that the surcharge rules also apply to the taxi industry.