Commercial banks in India are broadly classified into three categories:
1. Public Sector Banks: The term “public sector banks” refers to a situation where the majority equity stake in the banks is held by the government. The Indian Government keeps default holdings of a minimum 51% shareholding, but management control is only with the Central Government, thereby classifying them as Public Sector Banks.
Public sector banks include the State Bank of India and its Associates, Nationalized Banks (including Industrial Development Bank of India Ltd (IDBI) since December 2004), and Regional Rural Banks.
2. Private Sector Banks: They are the banks in which individuals and corporations are the majority shareholders. In India, banks were nationalized in two phases, in 1969 and 1980. In 1993, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the regulating body for all the country’s banking organizations, allowed many new commercial banks in India to start operations. Some of the major commercial banks in India that were given licenses are ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank.
Private sector banks are recognized as the banks for the new generation, providing innovative products, better IT support systems, and competitive pricing for their products. As of the end of March 2017, there are 21 private sector banks in India. Besides these, four local area banks are also categorized as private banks.
3. Foreign Banks: They are the final category of banks that serve as an important segment of the commercial banking sector. They are headquartered outside India and they operate from their wholly-owned subsidiaries or branches in the country. The foreign banks include Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of America, Barclays Banks, Deutsche Bank, etc.
Top 10 Commercial Banks in India are:
State Bank of India (SBI)
SBI is India’s largest public sector bank and is ranked 232nd on the Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s biggest corporations. The bank is also the country’s biggest lender. It recently joined the list of top 50 banks globally in terms of asset distribution, following its merger with other associate banks:
State Bank of Travancore (SBT)
State Bank of Patiala (SEP)
State Bank of Mysore (SBM)
State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH)
State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ)
As of May 2021, the total combined network of the abovementioned associate banks is 22,000 branches in India, in addition to 233 offices in 32 countries and 301 correspondents in 72 countries, and a workforce of 249,448 employees. The combined net profit of these banks was Rs. 224,054 crores as of May 2021.
Rs. in crores
3,274,160 (USD 450 billion)
332,900 (USD 46 billion)
1,228,284 (USD 168 billion)
48,456,185 (USD 666 billion)
Return on Assets
No. of Branches
ICICI Bank (Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India)
ICICI Bank is India’s largest private sector bank. The bank, which was a wholly-owned subsidiary of ICICI Limited, is a multinational banking and financial company based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India with its registered office in Vadodara, Gujarat.
ICICI Bank was the first Indian bank to list on the NYSE in 2000, along with its 5 million American Depository Shares, which was oversubscribed 13 times the offer size. It operates a network of 4,850 branches and 14,404 ATMs in India and is present in 19 countries worldwide.
Founded in 1994, HDFC Bank is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra. HDFC is India’s largest private sector bank in terms of assets and market capitalization. It employs around 120,000 staff and operates a distribution network of 5,416 branches and 13,640 ATMs across 2,803 cities.
The bank is also present in Bahrain, Hong Kong, and Dubai. The company’s financials as of March 2016 are below:
Net income: INR 318.3 billion (3/2021)
Total assets: INR 18.0 trillion (3/2021)
Axis Bank is the fifth-largest private sector bank in India in terms of total assets. It manages 4,528 branches and 12,044 ATMs across the country and manages 11 overseas offices and over 78,000 employees. The bank was formerly known as UTI Bank Limited and changed its name to Axis Bank Limited in July 2007. Based in Mumbai, India, Axis Bank Limited was incorporated in 1993.
Net income: INR 71.9 billion (3/2021)
Total assets: INR 10.1 trillion (3/2021)
Kotak Mahindra Bank
Kotak Mahindra Bank is considered one of the upcoming commercial banks in India and is the fifth-biggest private-sector bank in the country according to market capitalization. It was founded by Uday Kotak in 1985.
The bank operates a network of 1,600 branches across 689 locations and 2,519 ATMs in the country and employs 71,000 staff. It completed a Rs 15,000 crore (US$2.3 billion) merger with ING Vyasa Bank in 2015.
Net income: INR 99.9 billion (3/2021)
Total assets: INR 4.79 trillion (3/2021)
Indusind Bank was founded in 1994 by Hinduja Group. Known for its strong remittance business, the bank is based in Mumbai, India. It employs around 30,500 staff and oversees a network of 1,915 branches and around 2,835 ATMs across the world.
Net income: INR 29.3 billion (3/2021)
Total assets: INR 3.63 trillion (3/2021)
Bank of Baroda
Bank of Baroda, better known as India’s International Bank, was founded in 1908 and is headquartered in Vadodara (formerly known as Baroda), Gujarat, India. It operates through a network of 9,482 branches in India and abroad and operates around 13,193 ATMs.
Net income: INR 27.5 billion (2020)
Total assets: INR 12.23 trillion (2020)
Punjab National Bank (PNB)
One of the first banks to start operations in India, Punjab National Bank was founded in 1895. Headquartered in Delhi, the bank employs around 97,100 staff. The Government of India owns PNB, which is also known as First “Swadeshi Bank” of India.
Net income: INR 10.4 billion (2020)
Total assets: INR 12.8 trillion (2020)
Founded in 2003 by Indian bankers Rana Kapoor and Ashok Kapoor, YES Bank is known as a “Full-Service Commercial Bank.” The bank is known for its excellent non-performing assets (NPA) ratio, which is the lowest in the industry.
Net income: INR -34.9 billion (3/2021)
Total assets: INR 2.74 trillion (3/2021)
IDBI Bank (Industrial Development Bank of India)
Headquartered in Mumbai, IDBI Bank was established in 1964 by an act of Parliament to provide credit services. IDBI currently operates 3,683 ATMs and 1,892 branches and employs around 17,000 individuals.
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