The robust macroeconomic environment continued to underpin the financial performance of Indian banks during 2004-05, with major bank groups successfully weathering the impact of an upturn in interest cycle. The demand for credit was broad-based during 2004-05 with agriculture and industry joining the housing and retail sectors to drive up the demand for credit. A sharp increase in net interest income mitigated to a large extent the impact of a sharp decline in non-interest income mainly on account of decline in trading profits. Banks continued to earn sizeable profits albeit somewhat lower than last year. Asset quality of scheduled commercial banks improved further during 2004-05. Capital base of banks kept pace with the sharp increase in risk-weighted assets.
ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF INDIAN BANKING
Opinions differ as to the origin of the work "Banking". The word "Bank" is said to be of Germanic origin, cognate with the French word "Banque" and the Italian word "Banca", both meaning "bench". It is surmised that the word would have drawn its meaning from the practice of the Jewish money-changers of Lombardy, a district in North Italy, who in the middle ages used to do their business sitting on a bench in the market place. Again, the etymological origin of the word gains further relevance from the derivation of the word "Bankrupt" from the French word "Banque route" and the Italian word "Banca-rotta" meaning "Broken bench" due probably to the then prevalent practice of breaking the bench of the money-changer, when he failed. Banking is different from money-lending but two terms have in practice been taken to convey the same meaning. Banking has two important functions to perform, one of accepting deposits and other of lending monies and/or investment of funds. It follows from the above that the rates of interest allowed on deposits and charged on advances must be known and...