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Heritage : Saga of Excellence in Banking

Fired by the spirit of nationalism and founded on the idea that Indians should have a national bank of their own, Punjab National Bank Ltd was the result of the efforts of far-sighted visionaries and patriots, among whom were persons like Lala Lajpat Rai, Mr. E C Jessawala, Babu Kali Prasono Roy, Lala Harkishan Lal and Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia. Incorporated under the Act VI of 1882, Indian Companies Act, the Bank commenced operations on April 12, 1895 from Lahore, with an authorised total capital of Rs 2 lac and working capital of Rs 20,000. Prophetically, the Bank chose "Stability" as its telegraphic address, as the future course of events were to prove - the Bank withstood various financial crises including the trauma in the form of partition of India when the Bank had to close 92 offices (33%) in west Pakistan which constituted 40% of its deposits and 15 of its staff fell victims to the frenzy. The registered office was shifted to Delhi and the Bank honoured all the deposit claims of the refugees even on the basis of whatever little evidence they could produce. Subsequently, the Bank registered impressive performance and grew from strength to strength.

A pioneer throughout, the Bank distinguished itself by appointing auditors in 1895 long before it was mandatory; introduced the "teller" system in 1944 (another first ); established profit sharing bonus, provident fund and voluntary outside audit well before they formed keystones of good management.

Nationalisation came in 1969 which unleashed a new chapter in the long history of the Bank. Keeping with the economic ideology of catalyzing development and amelioration of poverty by funding various self-employment schemes, PNB expanded its presence rapidly in unbanked areas. The Bank donned the role of a facilitator in providing the vital input of credit and consistently exceeded the national goals in respect of priority sector lending. With its large presence throughout the country and with a view to strengthening the rural credit delivery system, the Bank sponsored Regional Rural Banks (RRBs).

PNB has established itself firmly as one of the premier banking institutions in the country with a long tradition of sound and prudent banking. The bank`s growth has been aided by take-over/merger of 7 private sector banks during different periods in its history. The first ever and the only merger of a nationalized bank with PNB was in 1993, viz., New Bank of India.

By late 1980s when the first whiff of liberalization came about, the Bank initiated strategic moves towards diversification; and in 2002, 20% of government ownership was disinvested through a very successful IPO to the public. In 2003, the erstwhile Nedungadi Bank Ltd (e-NBL), a Kerala based private bank was amalgamated with Punjab National Bank. This was the seventh merger in PNB’s history of more than 115 years. PNB’s management team has been quite successful in managing the mergers and ensuring the integration process in a smooth and effective manner. It may be added that no other bank in the nationalized bank group has a track-record of so many mergers. This has improved the franchise value of the Bank, particularly, in the relatively underrepresented Kerala region. In order to meet future capital requirements on account of implementation of Basel II norms, in March 2005, the Bank came out with Follow-on Public Offer (FPO) through the book building process, reducing the shareholding of Govt of India to 57.8%.

Punjab National Bank with more than 5400 domestic offices including Extension Counters has the largest network amongst the nationalized banks i.e. next only to SBI. The bank has a strong franchise value and provides a host of financial products and services, both to the retail customer and corporate business. It has continued to fulfill its social responsibilities and made significant progress in adoption of technology, keeping with its objective of transforming itself into a techno-savvy Bank.

During 2008-09, the Bank achieved the landmark of becoming the largest Nationalized Bank to bring ALL BRANCHES/EXTENSION COUNTERS into Core Banking Solution (CBS). The strong franchise enjoyed by the Bank, combined with its technological capabilities provides the Bank competitive advantages.

The Bank also continues to discharge its social obligations and addresses environmental concerns with added vigour, which include free medical camps, distribute artificial limbs, tree plantation and blood donation camps, besides donations to Hospitals, Schools etc. The Bank supports various societies, charitable institutions and NGO /organisations working for the benefit of downtrodden, weaker sections of society, orphans, underprivileged, spastics, handicapped, mentally retarded children, women in shelter homes, etc. The Bank also contributes for fighting diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, AIDS, leprosy etc. Donations are also extended for purchase of water coolers, ambulances and building infrastructure facilities at hospitals/schools.


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