SBI's Microfinance Initiatives

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Case Details:

Case Code : FINC043
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1995-2005
Pub. Date : 2005
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : SBI
Industry : Banking
Countries : India

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Introduction Contd...

With more than 9000 branches, and more than 4,000 branches of its associated banks, SBI catered to the needs of agriculturists and landless laborers through 6,600 semi-urban and rural branches. SBI had setup 974 branches exclusively for development of agriculture through credit deployment. The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh remarked that SBI needed to play a major role and guide all the other banks in increasing the market for rural credit. At the bicentennial celebrations of SBI in June 2005, he said "You (SBI) have to leverage your strengths, develop new capabilities, and show initiative to venture into uncharted territories so that you continue to be in the vanguard of India's growth in this century8..."

Background Note

The origin of SBI dates back to the early 19th century, when the Bank of Calcutta was established in Calcutta (present day Kolkata in the state of West Bengal) in June 1806 under the aegis of the British-run, Government of Bengal. Three years after its inception, the bank was renamed Bank of Bengal on receiving its charter. It was a unique banking institution as it was the first joint-stock bank in British India. Next came the Bank of Bombay in April 1840 followed by the Bank of Madras in July 1843. By 1876, the three presidency banks, together with their branches, agencies and sub-agencies, covered major inland trade centers in India. Bank of Bengal had 18 branches while the other two had 15 branches each.

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Initially, the business of these banks was restricted to discounting bills of exchange or other negotiable private securities, keeping cash accounts and receiving deposits and issuing and circulating cash notes.

The last quarter of the 19th century witnessed rapid commercialization in India owing to the expansion of the railway network to cover all the major geographic regions of the country. The three presidency banks were both beneficiaries and promoters of this commercialization process as they became involved in the financing of practically every trading, manufacturing and mining activity in the Indian subcontinent.

The three presidency banks were amalgamated in January 1921 to form the Imperial Bank of India. The new bank performed the triple role of a commercial bank, a banker's bank and a banker to the government...

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8] Kumar, Shiv, "200 Years and Going Strong," The Tribune, June 26, 2005.


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