Rise and Growth of Banking in Kerala
AREA AND PEOPLE served by banks arc considered significant indicators of banking development. Among the provinces and states of the Indian Union at independence., Travancore and Cochin1 topped the list in the range of area and population served by an office of a commercial bank.a Long before independence banking in Kerala was unique in several other respects. The early banks were founded mostly by one community—the Christians—who dominated the field for several years. There was a spatial concentration of banking at Tiruvalla in Travancore and Trichur in Cochin. The early institutions were predominantly of the unit-banking type similar to those in England in the middle of the nineteenth century.8 In Travancore they were located mostly in villages receiving deposits from small savers and giving credit to small peasants and traders.4 Advances were mostly unsecured, or secured by land."" These practices were unconventional by the prevailing standards of sound banking. It is only in the recent past that the idea of helping the agriculturist and the small man through commercial banks gained ground in India as part of planning. This was nothing new for Kerala.
This article aims to trace the evolution and expansion of commercial banking in the Travancore-Cochin region prior to the period of planning,