Public Sector Banks (PSBs) are a major type of bank in India, where a majority stake (i.e. more than 50%) is held by the government. The shares of these banks are listed on stock exchanges. There are a total of 12 Public Sector Banks.

The Central Government entered the banking business with the nationalization of the Imperial Bank of India in 1955.
A 60% stake was taken by the Reserve Bank of India and the new bank was named State Bank of India.
The seven other state banks became subsidiaries of the new bank in 1959 when the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959 was passed by the Union government.

The next major government intervention in banking took place on 19 July 1969 when the Indira government nationalized an additional 14 major banks. The total deposits in the banks nationalized in 1969 amounted to 50 crores. This move increased the presence of nationalized banks in India, with 84% of the total branches coming under government control.

The share of the banking sector held by the public banks continued to grow through the 1980s, and by 1991 public sector banks accounted for 90% of the banking sector. A year later, in March, 1992, the combined total of branches held by public sector banks was 60,646 across India, and deposits accounted for ₹1,10,000 crore. The majority of these banks was profitable, with only one out of the 21 public sector banks reporting a loss.

The nationalized banks reported a combined loss of ₹1160 crores. However, the early 2000s saw a reversal of this trend, such that in 2002-03 a profit of ₹7780 crores by the public sector banks: a trend that continued throughout the decade, with a ₹16856 crore profit in 2008–2009.

The consolidation of SBI-associated banks started first by State Bank of India merging its subsidiary State Bank of Saurashtra with itself on 13 August 2008.Thereafter it merged State Bank of Indore with itself on August 27, 2010.
The remaining subsidiaries, namely the State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore, and Bhartiya Mahaila Bank were merged with State Bank of India with effect from 1 April 2017.

Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank were merged into Bank of Baroda in 2018. IDBI Bank was categorized as a private bank with effect from January 2019.

On 30 August 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman announced the government’s plan for further consolidation of public sector banks: Indian Bank’s merger with Allahabad Bank (anchor bank – Indian Bank);Punjab National Bank’s merger with Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank (anchor bank – Punjab National Bank); Union Bank of India’s merger with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank (anchor bank – Union Bank of India);and Canara Bank’s merger with Syndicate Bank (anchor bank – Canara Bank). The mergers took effect from 1 April, 2020.

Public Sector Banks (Government Shareholding %, as of 1st January 2021)

State Bank of India (56.92%)
Punjab National Bank (85.59%)
Bank of Baroda (71.60%)
Canara Bank (78.52%)
Union Bank of India (89.07%)
Indian Bank (88.06%)
Bank of India (89.10%)
Central Bank of India (92.39%)
Indian Overseas Bank (95.84%)
UCO Bank (94.39%)
Bank of Maharashtra (92.49%)
Punjab and Sind Bank (83.06%)

Long-term investment in PSU Bank can be a good strategy. However, private banks have also played an important role in the development of India.
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