Banking in India – Bank PO Study Material

Banking practice was prevalent in ancient India too, it was not as organised and consolidated as it is today. The practice of giving out loans was widely prevalent in the Vedic period. The concept of usury even finds mention in the Vedas, apart from the Sutras and the Jatakas. While some texts condemn usury, others like Manusmriti consider it an acceptable practice. Loan deeds find mention in the Jatakas, Dharmashastras as well as Kautilya’s Arthashastra.

It was common for people to deposit their money in temples, during ancient times in India. The temples acted as a safeguard of sorts, by protecting the wealth of the people from invaders, warriors etc.

Coinage was prevalent in ancient India. Coins were minted in either gold or silver or copper or bronze and often carried the stamp of the monarch or king. A money economy has existed in India since the time of Buddha.

The Mauryan period marked the existence of instrument named ‘adesha’ which is very similar in usage to a bill of exchange. The Buddhist period witnessed large-scale usage of adesha. Trade during this period was also flourishing, so it was common for merchants in large towns to give letters of credit to each other. Trade guilds also performed many banking functions enabling economic activities.

Banking in Colonial India

Formally, banking in India originated in last decades of the 18th century. The first banks in existence in India are the General Bank of India, which started in 1786, and the Bank of Hindustan, which started in 1790. Both of these banks are defunct now. The oldest existing bank in India is the SBI (State Bank of India) which originated as the Bank of Calcutta in 1806, and then became the Bank of Bengal, and was then became one of all the Presidency Banks which were transformed into the Imperial Bank of India.

The Presidency Banks formed the bedrock of the banking system in the earlier colonial times, and acted like quasi-central banks. There were three Presidency banks, namely, the Bank of Bombay, the Bank of Madras, and the Bank of Bengal. All the three Presidency banks were established under Charters of the British East India Company. These three Presidency banks were merged to form the Imperial Bank of India in 1921.

Foreign banks such as the Comptoire d’Escompte de Paris and HSBC were also active in colonial India from the 1860s.

The earliest mention in the colonial era of Indians forming a bank was the Union Bank in Calcutta, which was formed by Indian merchants in 1839. The Allahabad Bank, which is still active today, was established in 1865 and is the oldest Joint Stock bank in India.

The Swadeshi movement propelled many Indians to found banks. Some of the banks established during this time are the Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Indian Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank and Central Bank of India. Many banks were found in South Karnataka, especially in the Udipi district. This area, known as South Canara or Dakshina Kannada was home to four nationalised banks and a private sector bank, and is thus, known as the cradle of Indian Banking.

The First and the Second World War saw the banks fall upon hard times. The world wars affected economic activities, which in turn, adversely affected banking activities, with at least 94 banks failing between the years of 1913 and 1918 in India.

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  • arush

    I love you admin

  • ruby

    where are the other whole 12 paged full notes for study material for bank po?

  • praeen


    where is the banking and Financial awareness full notes for bank exam ?

  • udaykumar

    i satisfied this topic but full notes for study material bank po

  • edipada

    Hi sir,

    Where are the banking awareness notes which was previously present in this section. Please upload the same. it is really helpful for the aspirants like us


    Hi sir,
    Where are the banking awareness notes which was previously present in this section. Please upload the same

  • girija pratap

    hi sir ,

    Fist i would like to thank u for ur contribution towards uploading current affairs. sir plg upload the previouisly present banking material which was very helpful to me . waiting for the material…

  • Rini

    Sir please can u provide time, speed & distance question with explanation for PO exams :-) thank u :-)

  • Vijay Barthwal

    Hello sir,

    Please upload the same previous banking material that is very useful for aspirants like us.

    Thank you

  • shivam

    we want more knowledge.

  • anil thakur

    Hello sir, Please upload the same previous banking material that is very useful for aspirants like us. Thank you

    • GKToday

      We are updating it. will be back in some time.

  • Priyanka

    Hello sir,

    Thanku for uploading up to date current affires and related quizes. your website helps me alot to improve my knowledge.

    Kindly please continue the same and help us.

  • Karthikeyan V

    Hello sir,
    Now only i able to know this website. If i know before i might be clear the easily clear the exams

  • kirti

    plz sir monitry police ka note post kare

  • md sirajuddin

    hello sir , r u having banking gk earlier material in PDF format how to get that one plz reply….

  • Aditya Taru

    Guys do prepare well for bank exam
    they have changed their exam criteria
    now onwards you has to give examination in 3 phase
    1.Prelim(100 marks)
    Those who will qualify in preliminary get a cal to Main exam and from exam to Interview
    marks of prelim will not consider in interview
    so study hard i am too preparing hard
    best of luck

  • jomon

    sir, could yuu please upload banking po study material in pdf format?it would be very helpful for us as it is time for sbi po

  • hemant gupta

    I been reading gktoday for last 1 year and I just wants to congratulate gktoday team for their efforts .
    Sir , where is the material which used to be under this section. Please provide that material in pdf ASAP

  • md siraj

    plz upload the previous material

  • uday

    Upload previous. Year question paper immediately

    That is useful for student who
    Are preparing sbi Po exam

  • pooja

    thanks gktoday

  • shravani

    but where is the material???
    how can we download??? plz help

  • roshani fatma

    bank po question and ans send me


    Thanks for your effort.
    Please upload last year exam papers and proper solutions of it as early as possible as you know that sbi po exam have only some days are remaining…

  • Ramachandraiah Tarigonda

    Till date I Want GK WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO BANK PO EXAMS. I require it immediately. Please help me immediately

  • neelam singh

    plzzzzz suggest me best magazine for banking ….. hw to change my study way coz my speed is very slw cmpt to other one ……spaicly ga and com coz ths are scoring sub bt I cnt score …..

  • chanchal pawar

    banking courses information & vacncis