Saraswat Bank entered the 100th year on Thursday and to kick off the centenary celebrations top leaders including CM Devendra Fadnavis, Suresh Prabhu, Nitin Gadkari, Prakash Amte , etc came to stand shoulder to shoulder with the team that currently manages the affairs of the pride of urban cooperative banks.
The grand show was inaugurated at Shanmukhanand Hall, Sion in Mumbai with eminent dignitaries in attendance, informed the Chairman of the largest UCB Mr Gautam Thakur on the phone. “As we are busy organizing the post-inauguration dinner, can I call you later”, said Thakur. But before hanging down the phone he happily named the VIPs who were at the show.
“It is indeed encouraging to have our leaders amidst us; to pat us and to encourage us”, Thakur said. Even Satyapal Singh, former Police Commissioner and recently appointed Minister was to come but due to an incident in Bagpat he could not make it, he added.
On the occasion, the Board of Saraswat Bank decided to give a special dividend of 15 per cent for the fiscal 2016-17 in view of the bank entering its centenary year on September 14, 2017. 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.
Tracing the history Indian Cooperative found that the Saraswat Bank was founded on 14th September in 1918 by Saraswats from Bombay. Mr. J.K. Parulkar became its first Chairman, Mr. N.B. Thakur, the first Vice-Chairman, Mr. P.N. Warde, the first Secretary and Mr. Shivram Gopal Rajadhyaksha, the first Treasurer.
It began its operation as a Banking Society which 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.
Mr Gautam Thakur, relatively young in age is the Chairman of the UCB. He is the son of the legendary Eknath Thakur who guided the bank to notable achievements and glory for a number of years.
The Bank proposes to create a centenary fund by allocating an amount of Rs 5 crore. Various events and initiatives will be undertaken by the bank as a part of the Centenary Year Celebrations,” said Gautam Thakur.
RBI conferred the ‘Scheduled’ status on the bank and its business grew upto 15,000 crore in 2007. The bank has also received ‘The Best Cooperative Bank Award’ among other accolades in 2016.
Earlier, during AGM Thakur informed the members about the mega bash the UCB is planning to hold in the hundredth year. “Your Bank will be stepping into its 100th year very soon. We have planned yearlong celebrations in the Centenary Year commencing from 14th September, 2017.
A process of consultation with various stakeholders of the Bank has already been initiated to develop a centennial vision of the Bank”, said Thakur.