Our amazing journey began in September 1918 with the founding of "The Saraswat Co-operative Banking Society." The primary objective of the society was to help distressed families with funds for temporary accommodation, repayment of debt, medical emergencies, etc. The Founder Members of the society comprised of Mr. J.K. Parulkar as Chairman, Mr. N.B. Thakur as Vice Chairman, Mr. P.N. Warde as Secretary, and Mr. Shivram Gopal Rajadhyaksha as Treasurer. This legendary team is remembered for their steadfast ideals, undying faith, clear vision, relentless optimism, and an exemplary entrepreneurial spirit. Even after decades of our foundation, the laudable sense of service and duty of our honorable founders continues to inspire the bank and its shareholders. In the early years of our history, the bank had to deal with economic consequences of the two world wars. Subsequently, the bank has been a witness to other historical events such as the independence struggle of India. Even in the most uncertain economic times, the Founder Members and successive leaders demonstrated an unshakable faith in the potential of the common man and encouraged the shareholders to save. In 1933, the society was converted into a full-fledged Urban Co-operative Bank. By 1942 having built a strong foundation in terms of membership, resources, assets and profits, the bank was fulfilling all the core banking needs of its customers.
Post-independence, during the late 1950’s, the bank witnessed solid growth. By this time, the Bank had established five branches in Mumbai and one each at Pune and Belgaum. At the time of its 50th anniversary, the bank had grown substantially in stature with notable progress in its social and economic objectives. In the year 1977-78, the bank’s gross income crossed the Rs. 3 crore mark for the first time. In 1978, the bank got a permanent license to deal in foreign exchange. In the same year, we became the first co-operative bank to provide Merchant Banking services. In the year 1988, the bank was awarded with “Scheduled” status by the Reserve Bank of India. In 1992, the Bank celebrated its Platinum Jubilee. From its humble beginnings, by this time, the bank’s business had crossed Rs. 700 crores.
The beginning of 21st century saw the bank take a giant leap in business growth. With a combination of organic & inorganic growth, the bank witnessed rapid acceleration in its business. Total business, which was at around Rs. 4,000 crore in 2000 almost tripled to Rs. 15,295 crores in 2007. In 2008, the bank launched a unique branding initiative to reemphasize on the bank’s thrust on its core values. The objective of this initiative was to inspire a “sense of belonging” among all its stakeholders. In the past two decades, the bank has undertaken several strategic business initiatives, such as Business Process Reengineering, and merging seven Cooperative banks and nurturing them continuously. The Bank’s tie-up with VISA International for issuance of debit cards was a landmark in cooperative banking. In 2011, the bank was granted permission by the Reserve Bank of India to operate All over India. In the year 2010, the new corporate office of the Bank became operational at Prabhadevi, Mumbai. The massive edifice in crystal glass, situated in the heart of India’s financial capital, serves as a subtle reminder of the bank’s leadership position in the Cooperative sector.
By 31st March 2019, the bank had crossed a milestone of Rs. ₹ 61,812 crore in total business. As of 31st March 2019, we had a network of 284 fully-computerized branches and 266 ATMs spread across six states of India, viz. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa and Delhi. The bank is having corresponding relationships with over 430 centers, spread over 65 countries covering 9 currencies.
The transition of banking to new-age innovative banking has also served as an opportunity for us to assess our existing processes and to take corrective and preventive steps and fortifications, wherever required.
The journey of the next 100 years is exciting and full of promise. By constant improvements in banking technology, innovation, strengthening of infrastructure/systems/processes, investing in the demographic dividend, we are preparing ourselves for the promising future. With our strong consumer connect and technological prowess, we are confident that the Bank will not only keep pace with the modern-day competitive environment but also emerge as a bigger, stronger and robust Bank, while also serving as a role model and pioneer in the banking industry.
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