The genesis of Indian Banking is associated to a large extent with Swadeshi Movement, which inspired many Indians to promote Swadeshi Banks in the beginning of the 20th Century. The enterprising founders of Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd also found this period to be a moment of opportunity to promote the establishment of a bank. Thus was born The Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd, Nine decades ago, on 26th November 1920 to be exact at Thrissur,which in later years acquired the unique distinction of being a centre with the highest concentration of banks in the South. The founder directors of the bank were people of eminence known for their foresight, integrity and initiative. The policy they laid down has been consistently upheld by the successive generations who guided the destiny of the institution. The bank commenced business on January 1st, 1921 with an authorised capital of Rs.5 lakhs and a paid up capital of Rs. 45270/-
During the first two decades of its functioning, the Bank concentrated only in Kerala. Banks and credit institutions which proliferated especially in Kerala received a jolt and many of them came to their doom following the crash of the Travancore National Quilon Bank in 1938 followed by Palai Central Bank in1960. During the period many small banks came to the verge of collapse shaking the confidence of the public and what followed was a process of consolidation. The strategy of mergers and amalgamations of small banks with bigger banks brought the number of banks within controllable limits, thereby making the industry's base strong. In 1964-65, The Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd took part in taking over the liabilities and assets of five small/medium sized banks in Kerala. The expansion programme initiated during these years gathered momentum in the subsequent years.
In August 1969, the Bank was included in the Second Schedule to the Reserve Bank of India Act 1934. In 1975, the Bank attained the status of "A" Class Scheduled Bank when its total Deposits crossed Rs.25 crores. The necessity of imparting training to staff looked very important and a modest beginning was therefore, made in setting up a Training College in 1975. In the same year the Bank entered the field of foreign Exchange. At a very early stage, the Bank recognised mechanisation as an effective tool of management and streamlined its accounting procedures by introduction of Data processing system. From November 1975, reconciliation of inter-branch accounts was mechanised by using IBM Data processing machines.
The decade of the seventies saw the evolution of a new culture in Indian Banking. Nationalisation of banks imposed "Social Control" and imparted new ethos to commercial banking . What followed was a massive expansion of bank branches with a distinct thrust on remote rural belts. Special schemes were formulated to cater to the diverse credit needs of small scale industries, road transport operators, agriculturists,and other self employed entrepreneurs.
The Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd did not lag behind in taking up the challenge and more than 75% of its clientele belong to small and economically weaker strata of Society. The Bank has a strong rural base with around 80% of the branches in rural and semi- urban areas.
Investments in money market and capital market instruments are being expanded and steps are being taken to have an in house equity research wing so as to face the challenges of the future. The Bank has also geared up its machinery to increase its market share of corporate finance in the days to come.
The real inner strength of a growing organisation lies in its staff resources. The Bank has been singularly fortunate all these years in creating an environment in which the employees at all levels could play their role.
Their contribution to the growth of this institution has been invaluable. The Bank has a very dynamic team on its Board of Directors who are guiding the destiny of the Bank leading to growth and prosperity.
At present, the bank has a network of over 430 branches and more than 240 ATMs across India. The Bank also plans to open more number of branches in a phased manner.
"CSB endeavours to be a leading South India Based bank striving to excel in bringing products that satisfy the needs of targeted client segments, backed by excellent service – through our branches and technology driven initiatives in a compliant and regulated manner. For our Employees, we want to create a culture of Pride – driven by performance and productivity that should eventually result in sustainable growth in business and deliver superior returns to our Shareholders."
A-1121, Sobha Topaz, Sobha City, Puzhakkal P.O., Thrissur-680 553
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General Manager, Foreign Exchange Department, Reserve Bank of India, PB No 40, Fort Glacis, 16 Rajaji Salai, Chennai- 600 001
General Manager, Department of Financial Inclusion and Development Department, Reserve Bank of India, Secretariat Road, Saifabad, Hyderabad - 500004.