Friday, 11 April 2014

Banking in India - a brief note

Trading & merchant banking in India date back to ancient times & find mention in Vedic period ( 2000 - 1400 BC) literature also. Money lending, debt & interest has been mentioned repeatedly in various epics. Manu the law maker also wrote about the Vaishs earning interest through loans & accepting deposits etc.

During the Maurya period( 321 to 185 BC) an instrument similar to a Draft or Bill of Exchange called Adesha was used for payment to third parties. Merchants used references or letters of credit for purchase of goods. 

Arthashastra by Chankya also mentions traders receiving deposits & extending advances & playing some role in the economy. During Moghul period also desi bankers played vital role even in times of war for procurement of arms. 

Modern age banks started in 18th century. Bank of Hindustan was the first bank to open in 1770 in India (& which folded up in 1829). Bengal Bank was the first bank to allow use of cheques in India.

Savings accounts were opened by Presidency Bank in India in 1830.

British East India Company by it's charter established three banks in India in 1806 - Bank of Calcutta ( which became Bank of Bengal later), Bank of Madras & Bank of Bombay. In 1921 these were merged to form Imperial Bank of India which became State Bank of India in 1955.

State Bank of India is the first bank to start mutual funds in India.

Comptoire d'Escompte de Paris was the first foreign bank to open office in India in 1860 & HSBC landed in 1869.

Oldest joint stock bank Allahabad Bank was established in 1865 & is still working. Another joint stock bank Punjab National Bank wholly owned by Indians & result of Swadeshi movement was established in 1895 in Lahore. As of now it is one of the largest banks in India.

The Reserve Bank of India was established in 1935 & was nationalised on 01-01-1949. Banking Regulation Act was enacted in 1949 which gave power to RBI to regulate, control & inspect all the banks in India. 

Bank of India opened first overseas branch of an Indian bank in London in 1946.

In 1969 central government issued an ordinance - Banking Companies ( Acquisition & Transfer of Undertakings) Ordinance 1969 & nationalised largest 14 banks with effect from 19-07-1969. Another six large commercial banks were nationalised later in 1980. 

In 1993 government merged a nationalised bank New Bank of India in to another nationalised bank Punjab National Bank which is one & only merger of its type so far. 

Policy of licensing was liberalised in 1990 & new banks like Global Trust Bank which was later amalgameted in Oriental Bank of Commerece, UTI Bank now Axis Bank, HDFC Bank & ICICI Banks were started. ICICI Bank was the first bank of India to allow internet banking.  

As of 31-03-2013 there were 151 commercial banks in India with 1,10,000 branches.

First bank to issue credit cards in India is Central Bank of India. Debit cards started in India in 1988. Presently 13 crore cards are said to be in circulations as per Wikipedia majority of which are debit cards. 

First ATM was installed by HSBC Bank in 1987 in Mumbai. As on 31-03-2013 number of ATMs in India is a little more than 114000. Considering the size of population & geographical spread of India a lot more ATMs are required.
Growth in economy requires more banks

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