Role and importance of banks in economic development

A proper financial sector is of special importance for the economic growth of developing and underdeveloped countries. The commercial banking sector which forms one of the backbones of the financial sector should be well organized and efficient for the growth dynamics of a growing economy. No underdeveloped country can progress without first setting up a sound system of commercial banking. The importance of a sound system of banking for a developing country may be depicted as follows

  1. Capital Formation

    The rate of saving is generally low in an underdeveloped economy due to the existence of deep-rooted poverty among the people. Even the potential savings of the country cannot be realized due to lack of adequate banking facilities in the country. To mobilize dormant savings and to make them available to the entrepreneurs for productive purposes, the development of a sound system of commercial banking is essential for a developing economy.

  2. Monetization

    An underdeveloped economy is characterized by the existence of a large non monetized sector, particularly, in the backward and inaccessible areas of the country. The existence of this non monetized sector is a hindrance in the economic development of the country. The banks, by opening branches in rural and backward areas, can promote the process of monetization in the economy.

  3. Innovations

    Innovations are an essential prerequisite for economic progress. These innovations are mostly financed by bank credit in the developed countries. But the entrepreneurs in underdeveloped countries cannot bring about these innovations for lack of bank credit in an adequate measure. The banks should, therefore, pay special attention to the financing of business innovations by providing adequate and cheap credit to entrepreneurs.

  4. Finance for Priority Sectors

    The commercial banks in underdeveloped countries generally hesitate in extending financial accommodation to such sectors as agriculture and small scale industries, on account of the risks involved there in. They mostly extend credit to trade and commerce where the risk involved is far less. But for the development of these countries it is essential that the banks take risk in extending credit facilities to the priority sectors, such as agriculture and small scale industries.

  5. Provision for Medium and Long term Finance

    The commercial banks in under developed countries invariably give loans and advances for a short period of time. They generally hesitate to extend medium and long term loans to businessmen. As is well known, the new business need medium and long term loans for their proper establishment. The commercial banks should, therefore, change their policies in favour of granting medium and long term accommodation to business and industry.

Role of Banks in Indian Economy

In India, as in many developing countries, the commercial banking sector has been the dominant element in the country’s financial system. The sector has performed the key functions of providing liquidity and payment services to the real sector and has accounted for the Bulk of the financial intermediation process. Besides institutionalizing savings, the banking sector has contributed to the process of economic development by serving as a major source of credit to households, government, and business and to weaker sectors of the economy like village and small scale industries and agriculture. Over the years, over 30-40% of gross household savings have been in the form of bank deposits and around 60% of the assets of all financial institutions accounted for by commercial banks. An important landmark in the development of banking sector in recent years has been the initiation if reforms following the recommendations of the first Narasimham Committee on Financial System. In reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of these banks, the Committee suggested several measures to transform the Indian banking sector from a highly regulated to amore market oriented system and to enable it to compete effectively in an increasingly globalised environment. Many of the recommendations of the Committee especially those pertaining to Interest rate, an institution of prudential regulation and transparent accounting norms were in line with banking policy reforms implemented by a host of developing countries since 1970s.