Banking in India
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Structure of the organised banking sector in India. Number of banks are in brackets.
Banking in India originated in the last decades of the 18th century. The first banks were The General Bank of India, which started in 1786, and Bank of Hindustan, which started in 1770; both are now defunct. The oldest bank in existence in India is the State Bank of India, which originated in the Bank of Calcutta in June 1806, which almost immediately became the Bank of Bengal. This was one of the three presidency banks, the other two being the Bank of Bombay and the Bank of Madras, all three of which were ...view middle of the document...
HSBC established itself in Bengal in 1869. Calcutta was the most active trading port in India, mainly due to the trade of the British Empire, and so became a banking center.
The first entirely Indian joint stock bank was the Oudh Commercial Bank, established in 1881 in Faizabad. It failed in 1958. The next was the Punjab National Bank, established in Lahore in 1895, which has survived to the present and is now one of the largest banks in India.
Around the turn of the 20th Century, the Indian economy was passing through a relative period of stability. Around five decades had elapsed since the Indian Mutiny, and the social, industrial and other infrastructure had improved. Indians had established small banks, most of which served particular ethnic and religious communities.
The presidency banks dominated banking in India but there were also some exchange banks and a number of Indian joint stock banks. All these banks operated in different segments of the economy. The exchange banks, mostly owned by Europeans, concentrated on financing foreign trade. Indian joint stock banks were generally under capitalized and lacked the experience and maturity to compete with the presidency and exchange banks. This segmentation let Lord Curzon to observe, "In respect of banking it seems we are behind the times. We are like some old fashioned sailing ship, divided by solid wooden bulkheads into separate and cumbersome compartments."
The period between 1906 and 1911, saw the establishment of banks inspired by the Swadeshi movement. The Swadeshi movement inspired local businessmen and political figures to found banks of and for the Indian community. A number of banks established then have survived to the present such as Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Indian Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank and Central Bank of India.
The fervour of Swadeshi movement lead to establishing of many private banks in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district which were unified earlier and known by the name South Canara ( South Kanara ) district. Four nationalised banks started in this district and also a leading private sector bank. Hence undivided Dakshina Kannada district is known as "Cradle of Indian Banking".
During the First World War (1914–1918) through the end of the Second World War (1939–1945), and two years thereafter until the independence of India were challenging for Indian banking. The years of the First World War were turbulent, and it took its toll with banks simply collapsing despite the Indian economy gaining indirect boost due to war-related economic activities. At least 94 banks in India failed between 1913 and 1918 as indicated in the following table:
Years | Number of banks
that failed | Authorised capital
(Rs. Lakhs) | Paid-up Capital
(Rs. Lakhs) |
1913 | 12 | 274 | 35 |
1914 | 42 | 710 | 109 |
1915 | 11 | 56 | 5 |
1916 | 13 | 231 | 4 |
1917 | 9 | 76 | 25 |
1918 | 7 | 209 | 1 |
The partition of India in 1947 adversely...