Customers might notice that Rabobank Australia only offers savings accounts and term deposits to consumers. If you want another financial product from the bank, you’ll need to be a farmer.

That’s because, unlike many other Australian banking institutions, Rabobank is a cooperative. While most other banks are either customer owned or publicly owned, meaning their profits go to customers or shareholders, Rabobank exists solely to serve the needs of farmers.

“One of the unique things for us here in Australia is that every deposit that we raise with Rabobank is directly contributed back into supporting farmers and agribusinesses locally,” Rabobank head of online savings Julie Blanchard told InfoChoice in early 2024.

Consumer funds deposited in Rabobank savings accounts or term deposits are used to fund loans and other products offered to those in the agriculture industry. 

Largely for that reason, the bank aims to offer some of the top savings account and term deposit interest rates. At the time of writing, the introductory rate offered on its High Interest Savings Account product is market-leading. 

It also supports Australian farmers through its research leg, RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness, which offers invaluable insights into specific industries, as well as various support services and networks.

While Rabobank offers specialised services that are highly beneficial for those in the agricultural sector, its product and service range might be less appealing to non-agricultural customers. 

The bank's focus on farming and agribusiness means it may not cater to the broader needs of general retail banking customers as comprehensively as other banks might, especially if you want a loan.

It also doesn’t offer the physical presence or technological tools that other institutions often do. Customers don’t have access to a branch network.

Real time external payments and feature-rich mobile apps are still a ways off for Rabobank customers. For example it is still not an Osko participant at the time of writing, nor is it part of the wider New Payments Platform (NPP).

This means if you want to transfer money in or out of a Rabobank account, you might be waiting a couple of days for funds to clear, and if you like a physical branch presence you might be out of luck.

However, the market-leading interest rates on offer from Rabobank and the knowledge that deposits go towards supporting Australian farmers might make up for any such downsides.