Founded to fulfill the need of a truly national bank, Punjab National bank was founded in May 1894. Its main office was located in Anarkali Bazaar, Lahore which now is in Pakistan.
The time when PNB was founded there was serious need of a national bank. Indian capital was being used to run English banks and companies, the profits coming from those companies went entirely to Britain.
Hence under the ’Swadeshi Movement’ PNB was founded and initial deposits and everything was arranged out of Indian money.
Since then the bank has seen a lot of ups and downs in its historical journey.
Over 8 million customers and six thousand branches
The first branch of the bank was located in Lahore and then it was followed by another two branches in Karachi and Peshawar.
PNB has built itself to over 8 million customers with more than six thousand branches across the country by March 2017.
After the partition, the bank was forced to close its 92 offices in West Pakistan which was one-third of its total number of branches and held 40% of the total deposits.
The bank transferred its operation in India even before India got independence with permission from the Lahore High Court in June 1947.
During that year, the Bank established its head office at Under Hill Road, Civil Lines in New Delhi and Lala Yodh Raj was the chairman of the bank that time.
Early founding members of the bank includes leaders of the Swadeshi movement, Dyal Singh Majithia also the founder of ‘Dyal Singh College’ and ‘the Tribune group’ and Lala Harkishen Lal, Lala Lalchand, Kali Prosanna Roy, EC Jessawala, Prabhu Dayal, Bakshi Jaishi Ram, and Lala Dholan Dass.
Lala Lajpat Rai was also long associated as an active member of the management in PNB’s formative years.
He was also the first customer to open his bank account.
First national bank of India
As the bank was opened during colonial India and was the first national bank of India it has handled accounts of prominent leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi.
The bank has also handled the account of Jalianwala Bagh Committee.
Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
The bank had even more loyal customers and among them was India’s former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
It is said that during the time when Shastri was Prime minister of India, he never used his government given car for his personal work.
In 1964 Lal Bahadur Shastri had to buy Fiat which that time cost was around 12,000 and he had only 7,000 in his bank.
La Bahadur Shastri took a loan of 5,000 but soon tragedy struck the family and he passed away in January in 1966.
The load remained unpaid which was later paid by his wife from the pension she received from Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death.
The car 1964 model fiat is now an essential part of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial at 1, Motilal Nehru Marg in Delhi.
Zero balance account for students
PNB has always responded enthusiastically to the nation's needs. It has been earnestly engaged in the task of national development. In the process, the bank has emerged as a major nationalised bank.
The bank incurred INR 3.24 crores on CSR activities like medical camps, farmer training, tree plantations, blood donation camps etc. during the FY 2012-13.
Punjab National Bank was also one of the first banks to open zero balance account for students only.
In collaboration with the government bank accounts were opened to students of 10th standard and above making encouraging everyone to become an active part of banking from an early age.
Punjab National Bank fraud
Punjab National Bank has currently fallen a victim of fraudulent transactions worth 11,400 crores that were taken out by jeweller Nirav Modi in a single branch of Mumbai.
Nirav Modi acquired fake bank guarantees and used it to extract more money from other banks and now has fled India.