KOCHI: In 1917, to break free from the iron grip of money lenders charging sky-high interest rates in Tripunithura area, a group of people got together and discussed a way out of the situation. The result: The establishment of the People’s Cooperative Bank.
The bank was an instant success, winning the confidence of the common man. Buoyed by the momentum, the bank bought 50 cents in 1933 for `1,100 at `22/cent in the heart of the town.The new bank building was inaugurated by the then ruler’s wife Lakshmikutty Nethyaramma.
The bank’s reputation as a credible financial institution spread far and wide such that the excess funds of Quilon National Bank were kept in the strong room of the People’s Co-operative Bank. Somewhere down the lane, the bank slipped into losses and the threat of liquidation loomed large. To survive, the bank also functioned as three ration shops and a consumer store. In 1975, it became an Urban Bank, forcing it to shed the ration shop and consumer store business and focus fully on the banking arena.
When Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurates the 100th anniversary celebrations of this bank on Sunday, it will not only be a recognition of how this small bank withstood the cut-throat competition of new-age banks, but also the trust it gained from the people in the region.
Small wonder, the People’s Urban Cooperative Bank has 85,000 members, a deposit base of `700 crore and a loan book of `400 crore. The bank has reported `6.5 crore profit in the 2017-18 financial year.
C N Sundaran, chairman of the PUCB, said the bank now has 21 branches and about 150 employees, doing a business of `1,100 crore. The bank has all the latest facilities, including core banking, ATM, SMS banking, RUPAY Card, NEFT/RTGS fund transfer, etc, he said.