What Is a Nationalised Bank? [Banking in India 101]

In this article, we’re answering “what is a nationalised bank in India?” But, instead of keeping you waiting for the answer, here it is:

What Is a Nationalised Bank?

A nationalised bank is a bank that is owned by the central government of a country. In India, nationalized banks are also referred to as public sector banks, or scheduled public sector banks. There are currently 12 public sector banks, including many of the largest banks in the country.

We’ll discuss how nationalized banks compare to private sector banks and discuss a number of other important nuances below. Plus, we will also answer the most common questions we get about nationalised banks in India.

This article is part of our free series on banking in India, ranging from how to apply for accounts to NRI banking, click here to access more now.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is a Nationalised Bank?
  2. Private Sector Banks vs Nationalized Banks
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Ready to Explore Your Options?

Private Sector Banks vs Nationalised Banks

The main difference between private sector banks and nationalised banks is that private sector banks are private enterprises while nationalised banks used to be private sector banks but the central government has since assumed majority control of the bank. Of course, the expressed intent of nationalising private enterprise is always for the betterment of the public.

In total, there are currently 21 scheduled private sector banks in India, compared to the 12 nationalised or scheduled public sector banks. For your reference, the label “scheduled” refers to banks with adequate capital reserves that they can access direct funding from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people wondering what a nationalised bank is. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

What Is a Nationalised Bank?

A nationalised bank in India refers to a public sector bank that was once operating as a private sector bank. However, the central government of India made the decision to assume control of the bank in the interest of public good by assuming majority control of the bank. The amount of control that India’s government has over each bank varies, but in all instances it is above 50%. Additionally, the number of banks in this category changes depending on mergers or further actions by the government.

Which Is the Best Nationalised Bank in India?

Which nationalised bank is the best in India will depend on the specific variables that a person is trying to optimize for. Likewise, the location of a prospective customer can also contribute to which banks would be best for their situation. That said, when trying to optimize for the largest banks, you may want to consider the State Bank of India (SBI) as it is the largest bank in the country.

How Many Nationalised Banks Are in India?

There are 12 nationalised banks in India currently. However, this number is subject to change if the central government decides to take further action and assume control of any other private banks. For instance, there were six more nationalised banks in 2021, but these were merged into four of the remaining 12 banks.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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