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India | Category Summaries: Banks

The banks category grew rapidly over the past decade, driven by the strength of the Indian economy and the relaxation of government regulation, which encouraged more competition. Banking in India today includes SOEs (State Owned Enterprises) and private institutions, both Indian and international.

Three of the top four most valuable Indian brands are banks. HDFC Bank, one of India’s first private banks, established in 1994, leads the ranking. Ranked third, State Bank of India formed the brand in 1955, prior to liberalization, although its earliest predecessor bank opened in 1806. ICICI Bank, which started in 1994, ranks fourth.

Banks are improving services, adding technology and opening new branches to serve the affluent middle class. They’re also expanding their presence in rural and semi-rural areas to serve the unbanked, driven by the financial inclusion policies of the Reserve Bank of India, the nation’s central bank.

A set of new regulations may soon increase the number of foreign banks operating in India and also impose standards to protect India’s banks from the kind of systemic problems that fomented the global financial crisis in 2008.

Modern banking in India began in the eighteenth century. Following India’s independence, in 1947, private banks functioned under government regulation. The government nationalized most banks in 1969, but relaxed some control with liberalization that started in 1992.

The banks category includes public sector and private banks.