Bank of Calcutta, oldest bank of Asia - the heritage building in Kolkata does not exist!!

Above images: The Bank of Calcutta,, a precursor to the present State Bank of India, was founded on June 2, 1806 with the main purpose of serving the East India company and its expansionism  in India.. Though countless banks across India in the 1800s and 1900s failed for various reasons the Bank of Bengal always stood ground and never failed because of tight banking regulations. ....................... 

Having already become the owner of Bengal and and adjacent regions with vast revenue,  the company was on an expansion spree under  General Wellesley’.  To meet the huge war  expenses to facilitate  raids against the Marathas and Tipu Sultan of Mysore,  the Bank of Calcutta   was formed  to  finance the wars.   During 1860s the bank opened four branches in Rangoon, Banaras, Patna and Mirzapur.   In 1806 the Dacca bank, established in 1846, merged with bank of Calcutta   It was the first bank of India and was renamed Bank of Bengal on 2 January 1809.  At present, the heritage building does not exist. 

As for  Bombay Presidency bank (BPB),  it catered to the needs of cotton merchants as the  Bombay cotton markets were doing well  as supplies from the US had declined due to the civil war there. Several cotton companies came  up and  the banks had a  swell time. However when the civil war in America ended there was big bust  in Bombay  cotton market. The euphoria in the Indian cotton market turned to panic. The hitherto stable bank came to a swift close. A new Bank of Bombay was  founded  immediately in 1868. The financial institutions were backbone not only to the English company and other companies as well.  The collapse of banks in Bombay and later in Kolkata  made the banking authorities to be careful and they stated the banks with limited liability. thus began an era of prudent banking in the colonial days.

Bank of Calcutta, oldest bank of Asia that never failed

Bank of Calcutta, oldest bank of Asia

Above image:  Heritage bank  building lost for ever, Kolkata. the old Bank of Calcutta building on Strand street has become a thing of the past. It was demolished  without using discretion to build a new structure in the 1980s.. 

SBI head office, Kolkata old heritage building

State bank of India, Samridhhi, Kolkata.

In the later period two Presidency  banks came into being  under Royal Charters one at Bombay and the other at Madras.   In January 1921 all the Presidency banks merged to form Imperial bank.  Till the formation of the reserve bank of India Imperial bank acted as the  Central bank for  British India. 

After independence State bank was formed in April  1955 from Imperial bank and the main  Kolkata office building on Strand street owned by the bank was facing demolition in 1980. Reason cited was the building had weak foundation. There was a proposal to build  a 14 floor structure. After protests from many quarters, the bank authorities decided to recreate   two floors of the tall building.  The new building called  Samriddhi Bhavan  built in neo classical style  serves as the local head office of SBI Kolkata. 

Its 11th floor houses first banking museum of our country. The archive and the museum has countless records including those from the colonial era thus preserving the legacy of banking industry in India that began two centuries ago right here in Kolkata.