By V. Krishna Moorthy

Karnataka’s first and earliest State-sponsored bank in the second decade of the last century, Bank of Mysore Ltd., established by the then Government of Mysore (Maharaja) in 1913 grew over the years absorbing some of the smaller banks into its fold and celebrated its Silver Jubilee in a grand manner in 1938 under the Chairmanship of B. K. Garudachar, when the first Chairman of the Bank K.P. Puttanna Chetty, who served the Bank as Chairman since its inception, died just a few months before the celebrations were scheduled for Dec. 2, 1938.

After independence, the Bank became a subsidiary of State Bank of India (SBI) under an Act of Parliament under the Subsidiary Banks’ Regulations 1959. The Bank continues to be a subsidiary of SBI though it is given a respectable nomenclature— Associate Bank— since the parent gets a better reckoning and image as a croup among the banking fraternity, both in terms of resources and performance.

Mysore Bank entered the centenary year in October 2012 and would be completing 100 years by early October 2013. As a former employee, I had the occasion of visiting a few branches in Delhi recently both to meet some old colleagues and old customers there.

An institution with such a hoary past and with a business turnover nearing two lakh crores now, it is a pity that I did not see any indication outwardly that the institution is in its centenary year except on the date calendars of the Bank. The employees’ response when broached on the subject was lukewarm.

It is not always such occasions come either for individuals or for institutions and it is for the authorities concerned to use the occasion to motivate its thousands of employees both present and past who have contributed to its growth, spread over nearly 800 branches across the State and several other States for renewed better performance, particularly when the competition in the sector is hotting up.

It should also serve as a sense of satisfaction to millions of its existing customers for banking with such a long-standing financial institution and is also an invitation to new customers, both individual and corporate, to bank with its branch network across the country.

Whether true or not, there are reported rumours that the parent bank is opposed to any such celebration on a grand scale on the specious plea that the erstwhile Bank of Mysore Ltd., was liquidated and hence, there is no need for such a celebration.

Liquidation of erstwhile bank cannot be true since the shareholders of the erstwhile bank continue to be shareholders of the present bank also under the new ownership.

Will the authorities concerned please explain why there is lukewarm response for such a lifetime event of the institution? If it were to be any other public sector bank or any other financial institution, they would have taken exceptional mileage and got good publicity for the Bank.

This happened not long back with Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Indian Bank and several others. Why not Mysore Bank under the State Bank Group? What is coming in the way?

It is to be remembered that three such lifetime events for the institution in the past —- like the Golden Jubilee in 1963, Diamond Jubilee in 1973 and Platinum Jubilee in 1988 — were not taken advantage of to propagate the Bank’s achievements and services and missed excellent opportunities on some pretext or other and as a measure of economy.

The local managements, it appears, were also not assertive enough with the Big Boss, the State Bank, in this regard. Will the Mysore Bank miss yet another golden opportunity of Centenary Year Celebration again?

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Courtesy : Star Of Mysore