Saraswat Bank: Centenary celebrations in Nashik

Saraswat Cooperative Bank kicked off another high voltage event in the series of programmes to be held for celebrating the centenary year celebrations at Nashik, Maharashtra. The function was attended by who’s who of town.

Earlier Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had inaugurated the centenary celebrations, at Shanmukhanand Hall, Sion in Mumbai.

The Nashik event was attended by eminent personalities including Mayor of the city Ranjana Bhansi, BJP MLA Seema Hiray, MLA Hemant Takle, former MP and Chairman of Janlaxmi Bank Madhavrao Patil, senior editors of leading newspapers, bankers and senior officials of Industrial Associations and the chamber of Commerce.

The evening had been enlivened by musical performances. Plans are on the anvil for building an exclusive Training Centre at Nashik for providing training facilities to a few Co-operative Banks and Credit Societies this purpose. Additionally, the Bank is shortly slated to open five new branches in and around Nashik.

On the occasion of the centenary celebrations, the Board of Saraswat Bank decided to give a special dividend of 15 per cent for the year 2016-17. This dividend offered by the bank is over and above the 15 per cent dividend on equity shares for the year ended March 31, 2017.

Saraswat Bank was established initially in the form of a credit society by its founder members – Shri J. K. Parulkar, Shri N. B. Thakur, Shri P. N. Warde and Shri S. G. Rajadhyaksha. It got converted into an Urban Co-operative Bank in 1933. In 1950, the bank expanded its activities within Mumbai and received foreign exchange license in 1978.

Today it is India’s largest Scheduled Co-op Bank and RBI had given it an option to get converted into a full-fledged Pvt Bank like HDFC and ICICI. After exhaustive discussions, the Board is said to have declined the offer.

The primary objective then was to provide financial assistance to the needy people from the close-knit Saraswat community. By the year 1933, the credit society grew substantially and was converted into a full-fledged ‘Co-operative Bank’. Over a period of time, the Bank had transformed into the country’s largest Co-operative Bank.

During this journey, the Bank has been lucky to have sterling leadership by worthies like Shri V.P. Varde, Shri V.P. Pandit, Dr. P.W. Rege, Dr. S.P. Adarkar, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry – Shri Suresh Prabhu and former Member of Parliament – Shri Ekanath Thakur who led the Bank during the past decade. Gautam Thakur, relatively young in age is the Chairman currently.

Saraswat Bank has not just entered its 100th year of existence, but it has also remained at the ‘Numero Uno’ position in the co-operative banking sector. The Bank, spread over 283 branches in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi reported a Total Business of Rs.55,273 crore with Deposits of Rs.33,737 crore and Advances of Rs.21,536 crore as on 31st March, 2017, reads a release.

The entry into the 100th year saw the launch of Saraswat Bank’s new products – Credit Card and Prepaid Card. In addition to this, the Bank will be participating in National Electronic Toll Collection with a reloadable Fast Tag for automatic deduction of toll charges at toll plazas and Bharat QR, a scan and pay facility using debit card, the press release says.

Saraswat Bank has also been mandated by the State of Maharashtra to provide Business Correspondent and Aadhaar Enabled Payments Services (AEPS) at Fair Price Shops (commonly known as Ration Card shops) in ten districts of the state.

“As Saraswat Bank gears up for this historic milestone, it humbly acknowledges that its growth and success would not have been possible but for the strong support of the Shareholders, the faith reposed by its Customers and the dedication of the Employees,” read a press release mailed by the bank.

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