Monday, December 27, 2004

Banking on its values

Banking on its values

The State Bank of Mysore has revamped itself with the changing times yet retained its old-age banking values.

Deccan Herald

In the era of new-age banking, a glance at the State Bank of Mysore, old building, will certainly take you to the British era. Established in the year 1913, the bank has witnessed the constantly changing City’s skyline.

Situated in the heart of the City, the bank catered to a wide cross section of commercial and social segments. In the first 25 years of its origin the bank grew considerably with 19 branches and 403 employees. K P Puttanna Chetty, popularly known as KP, functioned as the first chairman of the bank. It was during his tenure the sprawling Mysore Bank’s stone building was built in 1923 at a cost of Rs 2 lakh.

State Bank of Mysore (SBM) initially known as Bank of Mysore Ltd took birth under the royal patronage of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the penultimate ruler of the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore. The bank’s image derives a lot of colour and a specific cultural identity on account of its royal association. Alongside the stamp royalty, Mysore Bank also enjoyed special identity as a government bank on account of which the Kannadigas readily invested money and trust with Maharajara Banku with a comfortable sense of security and belonging.

The bank’s stunning stone building is a unique structure in the City. The massive hall, which is around 35 feet in height, has a huge entrance door and still stands as an architectural marvel.

T N Natarajan, former managing director of SBM, who recently turned 92, says, “Those days banking was a different experience. The employees not only knew the customers professionally, they also knew them personally often enquiring about their family welfare.

“Life was so easy then; even commuting by a bicycle was a luxury. There were around 200 cars in town and petrol then was just four annas per galloon (4.5 liters). The bank was a prominent landmark in the City then, and still retains its prominence.”

The bank grew in all dimensions, and the plans to expand it nationwide were brought to reality. The State Bank of India was set up in 1955 and March 1, 1960, is considered the historic day since Mysore Bank attained the status of the associate of State Bank of India. It was then renamed as State Bank of Mysore. The bank grew three fold in its network in the ‘70s and spread its tentacles in seven other states.

It is also said that the Mysore Bank played a vital role in introduction of chequebooks in transactions. In 1958, the bank first employed a lady and it was in 1962 that the bank had its first lady probationary officer.

“In 1970, the head office from the old stone building was shifted to the new nine-storey building on the same premises. It was the tallest building in Bangalore then and people who from smaller towns who came visiting the City never missed to see the tallest building,” says Natarajan.

The oldest bank of Karnataka also updated itself with the changing technology and retained its image as a social bank. Says Vijayanand, MD of SBM, “Transformation without loss of identity is the theme on which the bank is developing. Sponsoring of Dasara celebrations and many other such events have been the tradition of the bank. A customer care unit called Grahak Mitra has been introduced and lady employees have played a major role in its success.”

In a short span the bank will celebrate its centenary year.


Post a Comment

<< Home