Footprints – State Bank of Travancore’s Archives and Museum..

Well, atleast one of the State Bank Associates has heard the plea of this blog. The plea was to preserve and keep the history of these institutions active. Though, one must not link this blog’s plea to the bank’s decision!

State Bank of Travancore has decided to open a museum  and put up its archives for public viewing.

Banking also has a story. A story of changes and transformations. The story of growth and innovations. It is interesting and a matter of curiosity to find out the environment that prevailed in Travancore when the Travancore Bank Limited took birth in 1945. The Imperial Bank of India, the Indian Bank and the Central Bank of India were the main banks operating in Travancore at that time. There were any number of small private banks too, but they had little base to support any meaningful economic activity in the region.

Ups and downs are par for the course in the fortunes of any business. Several banks had collapsed in the late 1930’s in Travancore, undermining public confidence in the banking system. It was also the time when the Princely State was waking up to industrialisation. The situation demanded the emergence of a strong bank commanding not only credibility among the public, but also the financial capacity to participate in the economic development of the land. Maharaja Chithira Thirunal, the ruler of Travancore, had the vision to set it up as a fully State-backed bank dedicated to the prosperity of the land and its people.

“Footprints”, the Banking Museum set up by the State Bank of Travancore (SBT) at Kowdiar in Thiruvananthapuram, traces the evolution of the Bank from a small bank to its transformed identity as the SBT, one of the leading nationalised banks in the country and a vibrant subsidiary of the State Bank of India. The museum was conceived when the bank celebrated 70 years of its existence in 2015.

The museum gives you the broad outline of the track the SBT had – its genesis, growth and transformation to the status of the premier bank of Kerala, with branches spread over entire India, besides numerous key centres outside the country including representative office in Dubai, and Exchange houses (managed by SBT) in Dubai and Oman. The pictorial representations in the museum reflect what SBT has been to the society of Kerala and it places the history of the SBT in the context of the banking history of Travancore, Kerala and India. SBT’s success, as its journey this far shows, has been in staying in tune with the changing times, while performing its role as the State’s most potent tool for executing both its banking activities and welfare initiatives.

Artefacts are monuments of changes left by Time. On display at the museum are original documents, memorabilia and artefacts, portraits of key personalities down the bank’s history, busts, statues and also dioramas. A micro-artefact displaying a projected lighted image of the first head office building of the bank in Thiruvananthapuram is one of the exhibits. Some of the exhibits represent times dating back to a hundred years and more. Old ledgers, passbooks, code books, proclamations, notifications and newspaper cuttings relevant to the banking history of Travancore are also on display at the museum.

The Museum will be a corridor of events of past and present, which leads to future.

It has even released a book of the bank’s history called “Tradition of Trust: The Saga of State Bank of Travancore”. 

“Tradition of Trust: The Saga of State Bank of Travancore” traces the evolution of the bank from a small State-backed entity called the Travancore Bank Limited (TBL) to its transformed identity as the SBT. The book elaborates the banking environment in Travancore when the TBL took birth in 1945. There were any number of small private banks too, but they had little individual base to support any meaningful economic activity in the region. The book, further throws light on the collapse of several banks in the late 1930’s in Travancore, undermining public confidence in the banking system. It was also the time when the Princely State was waking up to industrialisation. These changes paved the way for the emergence of a strong bank commanding not only credibility among the public, but also the financial capacity to participate in the economic development of the land. Maharaja ChithiraThirunal, the ruler of Travancore, had the vision to set it up as a fully State-backed bank dedicated to the prosperity of the land and its people. The Tradition of Trust fostered by this bank from the very beginning stood the test of time.

Time witnessed the phenomenal expansion of a small bank into the present SBT. The book brings into the hands of the readers the outline of the track the SBT had taken in its growth to the status of the premier bank of Kerala, with branches spread over entire India, besides numerous key centres outside the country. It places the history of the SBT in the context of the banking history of Travancore, Kerala and India. The SBT’s success, as its journey this far shows, has been in staying in tune with the changing times, performing also its role as the State’s most potent tool for executing both its banking programmes and welfare initiatives.

The book was authored by 3 Senior Retired Officers of the Bank – Sri JPN Thampi, Sri KT Rajagopalan and Sri T Balakrishnan….

Should be an interesting read.

Hope other State Banks also follow suit before it is too late.

 

 

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