Banking on legacy: How State Bank of India grew to become the country’s largest commercial bank : Cover Story

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MG Arun



The genesis of the State Bank of India lies in the creation of the Bank of Calcutta (later Bank of Bengal) in 1806. In 1921, the Bank of Bengal and two other banks (Bank of Madras and Bank of Bombay) were amalgamated to form the Imperial Bank of India. The Reserve Bank of India acquired the controlling interests of the Imperial Bank in 1955 and the State Bank of India was created by an act of Parliament to succeed the Imperial Bank. The largest commercial bank in India in terms of assets, deposits, branches and employees, the consolidated assets of the State Bank of India (SBI) were Rs 18.62 lakh crore and deposits Rs 25.85 lakh crore at the end of financial year 2016-17. With a vast domestic network of 24,017 branches and 59,263 ATMs, it commands nearly one-fifth of deposits and loans of all scheduled commercial banks in the country. The recent merger of its associate banks with SBI catapulted it into the league of top 50 banks in the world. The bank has already initiated steps for faster consolidation post the merger through branch rationalisation and increased product penetration.


The bank’s ‘Hope Loan’ campaign, focused on charity, has been special. For every loan disbursed-be it home, car, education or personal-and transactions on mobile wallet Buddy during the season, SBI had donated a certain sum to charities for causes related to shelter for the elderly, mobility solutions for the differently-abled, girl child education and health. Consequently, SBI donated around Rs 5 crore to charitable organisations from the fund it created.


Always at the forefront of adapting new technologies, SBI plans to convert most of its processes into digital mode to give its customers an immersive experience.


It has the largest presence abroad among Indian banks with branches from Singapore to Moscow, Johannesburg to London, LA to Tokyo.

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