Jammu and Kashmir Bank’s history and success story uncovered

The bank’s business in the golden jubilee year (1987-88) was Rs 1227 Crore which steeply rose to Rs 1 Lac crore in the platinum jubilee year (2012-13).

Most of us, from Gen X to Millennials to Gen Z, have grown up hearing that necessity is the mother of invention. However, the adage fits completely in the narrative of the origins of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank that came into existence 84 years back in the then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Cutting the long story short, in the late 1920s, Maharaja Hari Singh, who ruled the erstwhile state of J&K, felt pained to see economic deprivation of people within his domain. He called for a proper assessment of the situation and concluded that lack of access to formal, affordable credit and absence of institutional support has led to deprivation and destitution among people.

Majestic in terms of scale, he conceived of establishing something similar to Central Bank for J&K. On his instructions, Sir Sorabji N. Pochkhanawala, the then Managing Director of the Central Bank of India, was approached to suggest the framework for such an entity. On September 24, 1930, Sir Pochkanawala submitted his report recommending a semi-state bank. On 29th September 1930, the Maharaja’s cabinet approved the formation of a semi–state bank with the state subscribing part of the capital, and balance from the public with the management control held by the state– a spectacular story of public-private partnership.

84 years ago, finally, it was on October 1, 1938, that a Certificate of Incorporation was issued, and the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited came into being with Major General Roy Bahadur Dewan Bishen Dass as the first appointed chairperson.

As is evident from the story of its origin, J&K Bank was founded with a mission to remove poverty and deprivation by financially empowering the people of the region. Meandering along the journey filled with ups and downs, the organisation continued to gather mass as well as substance and went on to become an iconic brand throughout its operational geography.

Building on the authenticity of its brand, J&K Bank not only collected deposits and gave loans to people but also forged a strong relationship with them by acknowledging their aspirations within its institutional limitations through personalised empathy and extension of an array of banking services. In its first five decades, J&K Bank painstakingly but successfully built its brand as the most authentic, reliable, and advanced brand in the business of banking and finance, primarily in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, besides metros and other important cities and towns in the country.

Baldev Prakash
MD & CEO, Jammu & Kashmir Bank

During the ensuing three decades, the bank expanded and deepened its footprint across the length and breadth of its core operational geography, besides emerging as the first and the only listed company in the region in 1998. Thereafter, the bank’s business set off on an upward curve to achieve great milestones.

The bank’s business in the golden jubilee year (1987-88) was Rs 1,227 crores which steeply rose to Rs 1 lakh crores in the platinum jubilee year (2012-13). Thereafter, the bank has almost doubled its business to Rs 2 lakh crores in just nine years. These numbers make the bank’s growth story sound spectacular, but the brand’s real achievement is reflected from the profound emotional equity of its stakeholders, especially from the countless faces with smiles. Throughout this remarkable journey, servant leadership and adaptability were the key aspects of the brand J&K Bank that helped build the brand in its current avatar. The bank has continued its mission of empowering people, socially and economically, across its operational geographies while boosting the aspirational graph of its clients along the journey.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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