India cannot have a healthy economy without a sound and effective banking system. The banking system should be hassle free and able to meet the new challenges posed by technology and other factors, both internal and external. In the past three decades, India's banking system has earned several outstanding achievements to its credit. The most striking is its extensive reach. It is no longer confined to metropolises or cities in India. In fact, Indian banking system has reached even to the remote corners of the country. This is one of the main aspects of India's growth story. The government's regulation policy for banks has paid rich dividends with the nationalization of 14 major private banks in 1969. Banking today has become convenient and instant, with the account holder not having to wait for hours at the bank counter for getting a draft or for withdrawing money from his account. Banking in India in the modern sense 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 still 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 established under charters from the British East India Company. For many years the presidency banks acted as quasi-central banks, as did their successors. The three banks merged in 1921 to form the Imperial Bank of India, which, upon India's independence, became the State Bank of India in 1955. 1. History of Banking in India
The first bank in India, though conservative, was established in 1786. From 1786 till today, the journey of Indian Banking System can be segregated into three distinct phases: • Early phase of Indian banks, from 1786 to 1969
• Nationalization of banks and the banking sector reforms, from 1969 to 1991 • New phase of Indian banking system, with the reforms after 1991
The first bank in India, the General Bank of India, was set up in 1786. Bank of Hindustan and Bengal Bank followed. The East India Company established Bank of Bengal (1809), Bank of Bombay (1840), and Bank of Madras (1843) as independent units and called them Presidency banks. These three banks were amalgamated in 1920 and the Imperial Bank of India, a bank of private shareholders, mostly Europeans, was established. Allahabad Bank was established, exclusively by Indians, in 1865. Punjab National Bank was set up in 1894 with headquarters in Lahore. Between 1906 and 1913, Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, and Bank of Mysore were set up. The Reserve Bank of India came in 1935. During the first phase, the growth was very slow and banks also experienced periodic failures between 1913 and 1948. There were approximately 1,100 banks, mostly small. To streamline the functioning and activities of commercial banks, the Government of India came up with the Banking Companies Act, 1949, which was later changed to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 as per amending Act of 1965 (Act No. 23 of 1965). The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was vested with extensive powers for the supervision of banking in India as the Central banking authority. During those days, the general public had lesser confidence in banks. As an aftermath, deposit mobilization was slow. Moreover, the savings bank facility provided by the Postal department was comparatively safer, and funds were largely given to traders.
The government took major initiatives in banking sector reforms after Independence. In 1955, it nationalized the Imperial Bank of India and started...