Initially all the banks in India were private banks, which were founded in the pre-independence era to cater to the banking needs of the people. In 1921, three major banks i.e. Banks of Bengal, Bank of Bombay, and Bank of Madras, merged to form Imperial Bank of India. In 1935, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was established and it took over the central banking responsibilities from the Imperial Bank of India, transferring commercial banking functions completely to IBI. In 1955, after the declaration of first-five year plan, Imperial Bank of India was subsequently transformed into State Bank of India (SBI).
Following this, occurred the nationalization of major banks in India on 19 July 1969. The Government of India issued an ordinance and nationalized the 14 largest commercial banks of India, including Punjab National Bank (PNB), Allahabad Bank, Canara Bank, Central Bank of India, etc. Thus, public sector banks revived to take up leading role in the banking structure. In 1980, the GOI nationalized 6 more commercial banks, with control over 91% of banking business of India.
In 1994, the Reserve Bank Of India issued a policy of liberalization to license limited number of private banks, which came to be known as New Generation tech-savvy banks. Global Trust Bank was, thus, the first private bank after liberalization; it was later amalgamated with Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC). Then Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC) became the first (still existing) to receive an 'in principle' approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up a bank in the private sector.
At present, Private Banks in India include leading banks like ICICI Banks, ING Vysya Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Karnataka Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, SBI Commercial and International Bank, etc. Undoubtedly, being tech-savvy and full of expertise, private banks have played a major role in the development of Indian banking industry. They have made banking more efficient and customer friendly. In the process they have jolted public sector banks out of complacency and forced them to become more competitive.
Major private banks in India are:
Bank of Rajasthan
A leading private sector bank, the Bank of Rajasthan was founded on the auspicious day of Akshya Tritiya on May 8, 1943, at Udaipur. Shri Rai Bahadur P.C. Chatterji, the then finance minister of the erstwhile Mewar Government, extensively contributed towards the establishment of the Bank.
Catholic Syrian Bank
With the Swadeshi Movement of early 20th century as its base, Catholic Syrian Bank was incorporated on 26th November 1920, in the Thrissur district of Kerala. The bank commenced its operations on 1st January 1921, with an authorized capital of Rs. 5 lakhs and a paid up capital of Rs. 45270.
The foundation of Dhanalakshmi Bank Limited was laid down on 14th November 1927, in the Thrissur district of Kerala. A group of innovative entrepreneurs had started the bank with a capital of Rs.11,000 and only 7 employees.
Federal Bank Limited was founded as Travancore Federal Bank Limited in the year 1931, with an authorized capital of Rs. 5000. It was established at Nedumpuram, a place near Tiruvalla, in Central Travancore (a princely state later merged into Kerala), under Travancore Company's Act.
Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited, more popularly known as HDFC Bank Ltd, was established in the year 1994, as a part of the liberalization of the Indian Banking Industry by Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It was one of the first banks to receive an 'in principle' approval from RBI, for setting up a bank in the private sector.
ICICI Bank started as a wholly owned subsidiary of ICICI Limited, an Indian financial institution, in 1994. Four years later, when the company offered ICICI Bank's shares to the public, ICICI's shareholding was reduced to 46%. In the year 2000, ICICI Bank offered made an equity offering in the form of ADRs on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
ING Vysya Bank
ING Vysya Bank Ltd came into being in October 2002, when erstwhile Vysya Bank Ltd was merged with ING, a global financial powerhouse boasting of Dutch origin. Vysya Bank Ltd, one of initial banks to be set up in the private sector of India
Jammu & Kashmir Bank
The origin of Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited, more commonly referred to as J&K Bank, can be traced back to the year 1938, when it was established as the first state-owned bank in India. The bank was incorporated on 1st October 1938 and it was in the following year (more precisely on 4th July 1939) that it commenced its business, in Kashmir (India).
Karnataka Bank Limited is a leading private sector bank in India. It was incorporated on 18th February 1924 at Mangalore, a town located in the Kannada district of Karnataka. The bank emerged as a major player during the freedom movement of 20th Century India.
Karur Vysya Bank
The Karur Vysya Bank Limited commonly known as KVB was set up by Late Shri M.A. Venkatarama Chettiar and the Late Shri Athi Krishna Chettiar, the two great visionaries in 1916 in Karur, a textile town in the Tamil Nadu state of India.
Kotak Mahindra Bank
Kotak Mahindra Bank is one of India's leading financial private banking institutions. It offers banking solutions that covers almost every sphere of life. Some of its financial services include commercial banking, stock broking, mutual funds, life insurance and investment banking.
SBI Commercial and International Bank
SBI Commercial and International Bank, (SBICI) is a completely owned private auxiliary of India's biggest banking and financial services set up, the State Bank of India. Established in 1995 to back SBI's corporate and international banking services, the SBI Commercial and International Bank is the only bank in India to be been awarded ISO-9002 quality systems certification for the Bank as a whole
Axis Bank was formed as UTI when it was incorporated in 1994 when Government of India allowed private players in the banking sector. The bank was sponsored together by the administrator of the specified undertaking of the Unit Trust of India, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and General Insurance Corporation ltd.
Yes Bank is one of the top most private Indian banks. Awarded by the only Greenfield license award by RBI in last 14 years, this bank is established and run by Rana Kapoor and Ashok Kapur with the financial support of Rabobank Nederland, the world's single AAA rated private Bank.