Sunday Herald Sun - - Front Page - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

IT is shap­ing up to be a very happy new year for ex­pec­tant par­ents, with one ma­jor bank an­nounc­ing it will give $200 to ev­ery Aus­tralian baby born in 2017.

West­pac to­day un­veils its “Bump” ini­tia­tive, which aims to give new­borns a head­start on se­cur­ing their fi­nan­cial fu­ture.

The bank will cel­e­brate its own 200th birth­day this year by de­posit­ing $200 into new ac­counts for 2017’s ba­bies, which par­ents can add to over the years, un­til the child can ac­cess the ac­count at age 16.

The roll­out is de­signed to help par­ents and grand­par­ents give chil­dren positive fi­nan­cial habits. West­pac Group con­sumer bank­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Ge­orge Frazis said get­ting chil­dren on to a path of healthy sav­ings can pay off sig­nif­i­cantly.

“By build­ing on an ini­tial $200 de­posit at birth with a $20 con­tri­bu­tion ev­ery week, for ex­am­ple, it will po­ten­tially amass ap­prox­i­mately $19,000 in sav­ings (based on a 1.5 per cent in­ter­est rate) by the time the child turns 16,” he said.

Close to 300,000 Aus­tralian ba­bies are born each year, mean­ing the bank could give up to $60 mil­lion if there is full take-up from par­ents. The of­fer is open to all Aus­tralian ba­bies born this year, even if their par­ents are not West­pac cus­tomers.

Re­becca Webb, of Greens­bor­ough, who is ex­pect­ing her fourth child this year, said she would take up the of­fer. “It gives you a head­start and al­lows you to save some money for your child,” she said.

“Ev­ery­thing is ex­pen­sive when it comes to kids th­ese days, so ev­ery bit counts.”

Re­becca Webb, with son Rowan, 5, plans to take up the bank’s of­fer.

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