Historically, established as a workplace forum in 1936 by a group of bank workers, to be formalized as a trade union in November 1997, and in accordance with the Labour Relations Act of 1996 as well as the rapid changes in the financial services sector, the Insurance & Banking Staff Association (IBSA) was formed.
The purpose of forming a trade union was to ensure worker rights in the workplace and to improve the working conditions and living standards of workers in the financial services sector. IBSA was based on a branch structure representing members at various organizations such as Old Mutual, Nedbank and Sanlam. In 1994, OMREB representing members at Old Mutual was established as a branch of IBSA and has grown significantly over the years.
At a high level strategic planning session in August 2018, it was decided to dissolve all the branches with the vision of unity and expansion to ultimately benefit all members across the financial services sector.