Barons of Banking

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Random House India, Sep 18, 2013 - Literary Collections - 551 pages
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Barons of Banking highlights the contributions of six distinguished personalities from the world of banking—Sir Sorabji Pochkhanawala, Sir Purshotamdas Thakurdas, Sir Chintaman D. Deshmukh, A.D. Shroff, H.T. Parekh, and R.K. Talwar—who not only played a pioneering role in the growth of the institutions which they founded, or were actively associated with, but left an indelible mark on the banking industry as a whole. Through the narration of the history of five key institutions - the Central Bank of India; the Reserve Bank of India; the State Bank of India; the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India Ltd; and the Housing Development and Finance Corporation Ltd—the author gives us a keen insight into the contributions of these luminaries to banking in India. Also included is a narration of the recommendations of important committees and commissions which influenced the course of Indian banking. Divided into four parts, the book uses hitherto unused archival material recently put in the public domain by the RBI. Of particular interest is a discussion of the acrimonious relationship between Sir James Grigg, the Finance Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council and Sir Osborne Smith, the first Governor of the RBI, which throws fresh light on a spat which remains unprecedented not only in the bank’s history, but possibly in all of banking history. Meticulously researched and engagingly written, this book will be of interest to both the academic and general reader and, of course, to the professional banker interested in a selective peep into the history of his profession.

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Barons of Banking offers the reader glimpses of Indian banking history intertwined expertly with the pioneering contributions of 6 eminent bankers who expanded their individual excellence to the institutions they set-up. We can look back and admire their vision of 360 degree view of banking and this is precisely this book has done.
The 6 eminent personalities are:
1) Sir Sorabji Pochkhanwala
2) Sir Chintaman D. Deshmukh
3) Sir Purushotamdas Thakurdas
4) Mr. A.D. Shroff
5) Mr. Raj Kiumar Talwar
6) Mr. H.T. Parekh
The book in detail explains how these individuals proved that Indians are equally good bankers, they provided invaluable insights to make important laws, such as RBI Act, 1934 and always protected interests of India and Indians when out country was in firm control of Britishers.
The book comprehensively traverses the history, events and small nuggets of information to show how these 6 individuals set-up financial institutes brick-by-brick, the role govt of the day played and how these individuals influenced government of the day to reach consensus on decisions which was best in favor of fellow Indian citizens and country.
E.g., Sir Sorabji Pochkhanwala laid the foundation of retail banking and pioneered processes to share data frequently with ecosystem to have firm trust in the bank. Sir Sorabji weathered the storms of at least 30 bank runs and successfully protected and subsequently emerged stronger with his bank, Central Bank of India. Many of the practices what Sir Sorabji Pochkhanwala established percolated to Banking and Regulations Act, 1949.
I was searching for this kind of a book which helps me in understanding brick-by-brick formation of Indian banking sector.


Part I
Weathering the Storm
Consolidation and expansion
Innovations and Ideas
Banking Reforms
Deliberations at the Round Table Conferences Part II
The Beginnings 13 The Politics of Monetary Autonomy
A Reserve Bank at Last
The Saga of the First RBI Governor
Driving Force Restraining Influence 17 An Indian Governor
The War Years

This Unfortunate Matter
The Exchange Ratio
The Hilton Young Commission 8 Minute of Dissent
Governments Little Gain Peoples Great Loss
The Shroff Committee Report
The Making of a Development Bank
The Maturing of a Development Bank
H T Parekh and HDFC Limited
Towards a New Monetary order
The Bretton Woods Conference and After
The Sterling Balances 22 Nationalization of the Reserve Bank of India
The Imperial Bank of India
From Imperial Bank to State Bank
In the Public Sector
The Talwar Years 19691976

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About the author (2013)

Bakhtiar K. Dadabhoy is a civil servant based in Mumbai. He was educated at Hindu College, Delhi University, and at the Delhi School of Economics. He is the author of five books including the best-selling Jeh: A Life of JRD Tata and Sugar in Milk: Lives of Eminent Parsis. Dadabhoy also contributes articles to newspapers and magazines. He did a daily column ‘This Day in History’ for the Hindustan Times and HT Next for five years. His other interests include painting and quizzing. He was on BBC’s Mastermind India in 2000.

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