In a developing country like India, cooperative banks play a very important role. The main objective of a cooperative bank is to provide financial help to the deserving at the lowest rate of interest. Over the years there have been some tough challenges for cooperative banks in India but despite facing a crisis, they have managed to stay afloat and emerge winners.
Cooperative banks in India began with the purpose of helping the poor who had been at the mercy of local moneylenders who charged them a high rate of interest. With the cooperative act passed in the early 20th century, cooperative banks were introduced and the Indian society, especially in the rural areas. It led to the following improvements
These banks now play an integral part in the development of the country. They are important for the effective functioning of the overall banking system in India.
Saraswat Cooperative Bank, formed in 1918, is the topmost cooperative bank in India. It is present in six states and is headquartered in Mumbai. It declared a gross profit of Rs 651.69 crore in the financial year ending 31st March 2020. During the COVID global pandemic, the bank beat all restrictions imposed and registered growth on all banking parameters.
Saraswat Cooperative Bank offers excellent customer support and has very transparent policies which have helped the bank to shape itself up as one of the giants of its type in the country. It won the “Best technology bank of the year” award in 2019.
Cosmos Bank is the first of its kind to open a currency chest, with permission from the Reserve Bank of India. This bank has produced some of the best figures in its market capitalization and profits. These have helped Cosmos bank consolidate its position as one of the best cooperative banks and have helped gain the trust of its customers.
Shamrao Vithal Cooperative Bank is considered a pioneer in India’s cooperative banking industry with its registration going back to 1906 in Mumbai. India’s third-largest cooperative bank, Shamrao Vithal Cooperative Bank’s new corporate identity is SVC Bank.
SVC Bank attempts to serve the largest number of people and has a total business of over Rs.250 Billion. The bank has 193 branches across ten different states of India. The Brihan Mumbai Nagari Sahakari Banks Association awarded SVC Bank the “Best Urban Cooperative Bank” award in 2018.
Abhyudaya Cooperative Bank Ltd is the first bank on the list which started its operations after India’s independence in 1964. It was started by the economically weaker section of laborers from Kalachowkie, Sewri, and Parel areas of Mumbai with an initial investment of Rs 5000 and today boasts revenues in billions.
Abhyudaya Cooperative Bank has 111 branches in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat, with 34 branches offering evening banking services. Abhyudaya Cooperative bank has kept itself abreast with new-age technology and has won the “Best IT Enabled Cooperative Bank” award in 2014-15.
Bharat Cooperative Bank was founded in 1978 with headquarters in Mumbai. Even though it is relatively new, the bank has a customer base of around 5.5 lakhs in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat.
Bharat Cooperative Bank has kept up with technology and offers new tech solutions like mobile apps, various card offers, and others. It was awarded the “Best Urban Cooperative Bank” award in 2017 and the “Best Information Technology” award in 2016.
The Thane Janata Sahakari Bank is one of the country’s biggest banks in terms of the number of people it serves daily. Founded in 1972, today it has 136 branches in 5 states.
The bank has been constantly adapting itself to the latest technologies to serve customers in the best way possible. It is the first co-operative bank to make UPI live and has some award-winning mobile applications and payment systems to make transactions and banking easier for the customers.
The Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative bank opened in 1984 and is the youngest bank to receive the scheduled bank status from the Reserve Bank of India. It has 137 branches in 6 states and has received various awards and accolades over the years. Most of its branches offer 12-hour banking services to their clients with some branches remaining open on Sunday and national holidays/ festivals also. The bank registered a profit of Rs 99.69 crore in 2019, making it one of the profitable banks in the country.
Some wrong decisions and mismanagement landed the bank in distress recently. The RBI is currently evaluating investment bidders to get the bank back on its feet.
The Janta Cooperative Bank was founded in Malleshwaram, Bangaluru. Having the names of some prominent names in the country associated with it, the bank is known as one of the most transparent banks with new goals set to be accomplished every year. The bank has a reserve of Rs 1,336.61 crore providing shareholders with a constant dividend of 18% for many years.
The bank has won many awards like, “Best green initiative”, “best ATM initiative” and “best bank in the deposit category of more than 5000 crores”.
Kalupur Cooperative Bank started in 1970 in Kalupur, Gujarat, and has branches in Gujarat and Maharashtra. For some years now, it has been showing yearly profit increment with the year 2019 showing working capital of Rs 8652.34 crore, with a net profit of about Rs 122 crores.
The bank is customer friendly with some unique facilities that it provides. It is the first cooperative bank in Gujarat to be on RTGS and also the first in Gujarat to get an authorized dealership.
One of the most dependable banks in the country, NKGSB Cooperative Bank established in 1917, has 109 branches across five states. The bank has a set of well-defined goals, values, and principles and works aggressively towards achieving its goals.
Cooperative banks have been dependable sources of financial support for people, since pre-independence days. The co-operative banks became more prominent post demonetization in November 2016, as they offered various apps and net-banking solutions for ease of operations. Moreover, interest rates offered by cooperative banks are higher than what public sector undertaking, private banks, and foreign banks offer. As per RBI guidelines, deposits with all cooperative banks are insured under the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) up to rupees one lakh.
Co-operative banks are moving towards adopting initiatives to make their banking websites smartphone-compatible and friendly and upgrading strategies regarding mobile banking. Nelito has been at the forefront, using its 25 years of industry experience and a vast suite of software solutions. Nelito offers its core banking, financial inclusion, KYC, and other surround solution on the cloud. Cooperative Banks, UCBs, PACS, Credit Societies, and NBFC can use these cloud-based solutions and reap the benefit of cloud computing.
In today's digital world co-operative banks need to choose the right IT partner who is agile and opens doors to multiple solutions. The IT partner should be capable to make the current digital technologies work for cooperative banks in a practical way.
With a high level of professionalism, cooperative banks offer a superior standard of services to customers and they are set to play a major role in the country’s financial sector.