Analyzing the Banking Sector of 2023: Challenges and Way Forward


This paper provides a concise overview of the most significant challenges the banking sector faced in 2023 and proposes strategic pathways for sustainable growth and resilience. As the industry grapples with technological disruptions, evolving customer expectations, regulatory complexities, and global economic uncertainties, financial institutions must strategically adapt to ensure their continued relevance. This paper explores key challenges faced by the banking sector in 2023 like privatisation of banks, increasing inflation, challenges in liquidity management, the failure of small private banks in India, and the often neglected expansion of the banking sector into rural and tribal regions. After analysing these issues this paper puts forward solutions like emphasizing the integration of advanced technologies, regulatory compliance frameworks, and customer-centric approaches. The research emphasises the necessity for a holistic approach to monetary policy, including qualitative tools, while emphasizing effective asset-liability management, financial inclusion through digital banking, and promoting sustainable finance to ensure economic prosperity and stability in India. By adopting a forward-looking mindset, the banking sector can not only overcome challenges but also thrive in the dynamic landscape of 2024.


After almost a decade of struggling with bad loan challenges, there has been an evident resurgence in India’s banking system recently. However Indian banks remain susceptible to the impact of monetary policies and external uncertainties like geopolitical issues.

The first generation of banking in India began with the establishment of the Bank of Hindustan in 1770 and the General Bank of India in 1786. These early banks primarily served the needs of British colonial interests and trade. The banking landscape evolved with the establishment of the Bank of Calcutta, Bank of Bombay, and Bank of Madras in 1806, which later merged in 1921 to form the Imperial Bank of India. This laid the foundation for modern banking in the country. The Reserve Bank of India was also established during this period in 1935. However, most of the small or local banks established during this period faced failure due to internal frauds, interconnected lending, and the amalgamation of trading and banking activities.

The second-generation banking took place from 1947-1967. During this time, the three banks which were merged in 1921 to form the Imperial Bank of India, became the State Bank of India. The State Bank of India was given control of eight state-associated banks in 1960, under the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959 (RBI, 2015). By mobilizing retail deposits and consolidating resources Indian banks were able to offer loans to a limited number of business families. Credits were offered to the agriculture sector as well.

The third-generation banking began in 1967. In this period, the Indian government successfully linked industries and banks by nationalizing 20 major private banks. Priority sector lending was also introduced by the government during this period (1972).

Fourth-generation banking took place between 1991 and 2014. Some of the most significant reforms in the history of the Indian banking sector like issuing new licenses to private and foreign banks took place in this period. This step taken by the government played a significant role in bringing competition among the banks thereby improving productivity and efficiency. By the international banking regulations issued by the Basel Committee on banking supervision, the Indian government brought in changes like the introduction of prudential norms. Narsimham Committee I (1991), which was headed by M. Narasimham, former RBI Governor suggested several measures to strengthen the banking system, including reducing government interference, increasing the role of the RBI in supervising banks, and enhancing transparency. It recommended the reduction of statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) and cash reserve ratio (CRR), which were high reserve requirements for banks, to improve their liquidity. The committee also suggested the recapitalization of weak banks, the strengthening of bank management, and the introduction of prudential norms. R. H. Khan Committee (1997), which was headed by R. H. Khan, former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), examined the financial system’s effectiveness for the small-scale sector and the role of primary dealers. The committee put forward recommendations to improve credit delivery to the small-scale sector and enhance the functioning of primary dealers. Narsimham Committee II (1998) was a follow-up to Narsimham Committee I and aimed to review the progress of reforms. The committee emphasized the need for structural reforms, consolidation of the banking sector, and the establishment of strong and autonomous regulatory bodies. It recommended reducing the government’s stake in public sector banks (PSBs) to less than 33% and enhancing corporate governance standards in PSBs. The committee also suggested the adoption of international accounting standards and the introduction of risk-based supervision. Raghuram Rajan Committee (2008), which was chaired by Raghuram Rajan, former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this committee was appointed to examine the financial sector reforms in India. The committee provided recommendations to strengthen the banking system and enhance stability. Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) (2011), which was headed by Justice B. Ν. Srikrishna was tasked with reviewing and restructuring the legal and regulatory framework of the financial sector in India. It aimed to consolidate and streamline the laws governing the financial sector, including banking, insurance, securities, and pensions. PJ Nayak Committee (2014) which was led by P. J. Nayak, this committee was constituted to examine the governance of PSBs. The committee highlighted the need for reforms in the governance structure, such as strengthening the board’s role, empowering bank management, and professionalizing the appointment process of top executives. It suggested reducing government interference and advocated for a greater role of the board in key decisions, including appointments and capital allocation. Nachiket Mor Committee (2014) which was headed by Nachiket Mor, was formed to examine the Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low-Income Households. The committee recommended measures to increase financial inclusion, such as the establishment of payment banks, small finance banks, and the creation of a universal electronic bank account (Jan Dhan Yojana). It proposed the concept of “payment banks” to provide basic banking services, including payments and remittances, to underserved sections of society. The well-known JAM trinity which includes Jan-Dhan, Aadhaar, and Mobile came into effect in 2014. Payments Banks and Small finance banks (SFBs) also received their licenses during this period. 

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Author: Alviya Maria John