India is home to Numerous Cooperative Banks. In 2019, these top 10 cooperative banks will shape the way Indians save and invest their money.
Opening an account with cooperative banks is often better since they offer slightly higher interest rates and have lucrative schemes.
India has an enviable banking history that few nations can boast.
In 1720, Bank of Bombay was introduced commercial banking to this country. History of this bank is sadly lost over the centuries.
The Reserve Bank of India’s website however indicates, this ancient bank closed doors after 50 years, in 1770.
This was followed by Bank of Hindostan, which began in 1770 but failed in 1832. Several other banks opened had to close shop for several reasons.
In 1806, the British East India Company opened three banks: Bank of Bombay, Bank of Calcutta and Bank of Madras.
The arrival of the Imperial Bank of India in 1840 saw the merger of these banks.
The cooperative movement in India
During the colonization era, landlords and moneylenders in the Indian subcontinent were known to fleece borrowers.
They would charge exorbitant interest rates, fudge accounts and grab land illegally from illiterate masses.
At a time when commercial banks with proper rules were non-existent, a group of social reformers and traders launched India’s first indigenous cooperative credit union.
The AnyonyaSahayakariMandali opened in Baroda (Vadodara) in 1889. The union took a new name- AnyonyaSahayakariMandali Cooperative Bank.
It began with a capital of Rs.76 and 23 shareholders. It became very popular. Within one year of operation, it had a capital of Rs.873.
The bank’s purpose was to offer easy credit to people and prevent exploitation from moneylenders.
Sadly, the bank closed down in 2008 after 119 years of successful operation, due to financial and administrative problems.
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Evolution and Consolidation of Cooperative Banks:
In 1906, two Mumbai based visionaries, Rao Bahadur Shripad SubbaraoTalmaki and Shamrao Vithal Kaikini registered a small cooperative society.
The duo operated with a single table, a couple of chairs from the stairwell of a chawl in Giragaum district of Mumbai.
Their aim was to provide simple savings options and cheap loans to members of the community.
The cooperative was very successful. It got the banking license in 1906.
The cooperative society evolved into a bank named Shamrao Vithal Cooperative Bank Ltd, in memory of Kaikini, who had passed away in 1905. This enterprise was a pioneer in other ventures to follow.
India’s cooperative Bank sector
Cooperative banks in India are broadly classified into two categories:
- Urban cooperative bank
- Rural cooperative bank
Urban cooperative Banks function on lines similar to Public Sector Undertaking (nationalized) and private banks. They are now called ‘Scheduled Multi-State Cooperative’ banks
Rural cooperative Banks restrict their operation to specific districts only.
List of 10 Best Cooperative Banks in India:
1. Saraswat Bank
Born as Saraswat Cooperative Banking Society on September 14, 1918, Saraswat Bank is the Topmost Cooperative Bank in India.
It got a banking license in 1933 and took a new name, Saraswat Cooperative Bank Ltd.
Today it is known as Saraswat Bank. It is now the biggest Scheduled Multistate Bank in India.
Saraswat Bank’s financial results for the 2016-17 show, it has business in excess of Rs.518 billion. The bank has some 255 branches in various Indian states.
2. Cosmos Bank
With headquarters in Pune, Cosmos Bank’s history can be traced t0 1906.
A prominent political and literary personality of Maharashtra, Narasimha Chintaman Kelkar aka Sahityasamrat Tatyasaheb Kelkar, was its first chairman.
Cosmos Bank is the first of its kind to open a currency chest, following permission from the Reserve Bank of India.
Cosmos Bank financials for the year 2016-17 shows its business stands at Rs.263 billion.
Cosmos Bank has 140 branches in 35 locations in various Indian states.
3. SVC Bank
Pioneer of India’s cooperative banking industry, SVC Bank is the new corporate identity of Shamrao Vithal Cooperative Bank.
SCV Bank is India’s third largest cooperative Bank.
SVC Bank has total business in excess of Rs.250 Billion. A total of 193 branches across various states offer SVC Bank’s services in India.
4. Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank
The humble beginning of PMC Bank was on February 13, 1984, from a small room in Sion suburb of Mumbai.
In a span of 33 years, PMC Bank has a wide network of 127 branches across six states. The bank offers a 12-hour banking service to clients from most of its branches.
Some branches of PMC Bank remain open on Sunday and national holidays/ festivals too. In the fiscal year 2016-17, PMC Bank had a business of Rs.130 billion.
5. Abhyudaya Cooperative Bank
Economically weaker section of labourers dwelling and residing in Kalachowkie, Sewri and Parel areas of Mumbai started the Abhyudaya Co-op.
Credit Society Ltd with a capital of Rs.5,000. In June 1965, the society successfully applied for a banking license.
Financial results for the year 2015-16 indicate the bank had a nett business worth Rs. 130 billion.
Abhyudaya has 111 branches in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat. Of these, 34 branches offer evening banking services too.
6. TJSB Sahakari Bank
Few banks have impressive figures like TJSB Bank. Launched in 1972 as Thane Jilha Sahakari Bank Ltd, it is today one of the leading cooperative lender banks of India.
TJSB Sahakari Bank has 124 branches in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Karnataka. Its nett business stood at Rs.128 billion in fiscal 2016-17.
7. Bharat Cooperative Bank
In 1977, young members of a group called Billawar Association sold shares at Rs.10 each to start a bank that can serve low and middle-income groups.
They got the banking license a year later. Over the last 39 years, the Bharat Cooperative Bank grew in size and number.
It has over 100 branches in various parts of India and business of Rs.122 billion.
8. Janata Sahakari Bank
Janata Sahakari Bank was established on October 18, 1949, by a group of people committed to social causes of residents of Pune city. It is one of the most trusted cooperative banks in India.
Janata Sahakari draws its fame by helping economically weaker section of the society and offering them affordable, attractive savings and loan products.
Janata Sahakari Bank discloses that its nett business was worth Rs.128 billion for the fiscal year 2015-16. It has over 50 branches located in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.
9. NKGSB Cooperative Bank
North Kanara Gaud Saraswat Brahmin Cooperative Bank was founded on September 26, 1917, by an entrepreneur called Sheth Shantaram Mangesh Kulkarni.
It began more as a cooperative credit society and later procured a banking license. Today, NKGSB Bank has some 106 branches located in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
Additionally, it has tied-up with various Non-Banking Financial Companies and insurers in India to provide a slew of investment and wealth management services to customers.
10. Apna Sahakari Bank Ltd
The last cooperative bank in this list is Apna Sahakari Bank Ltd is popularly known as Apna Bank and is an offshoot of the popular cooperative departmental store, Apna Bazar.
It was established on March 29, 1968. Launching its operations from the Apna Bazar store in Naigaum near Dadar, today the bank has over 40 branches Mumbai and other cities of Maharashtra with a presence in Goa.
The bank was founded to provide financial assistance and products to workers of cloth mills in Mumbai. However, superior services and products have made it one of the leading cooperative banks of India over nearly 50 years.
Post demonetization in November 2016, cooperative banks have come into limelight for offering various apps and net-banking solutions that offer ease of operations.
Interest rates offered by cooperative banks are slightly higher than those of Public Sector Undertaking, private banks and foreign banks.
Further, cooperative banks operate on a very professional basis and hence offer a high standard of services for customers. In the coming years, cooperative banks of India will play a major role in the country’s financial sector.