Corporation Bank, the oldest banking institution in the erstwhile undivided Dakshina Kannada District of Karnataka and one of the oldest banks in India, was founded in 1906 in the Temple Town of Udupi, by a small group of philanthropists led by Khan Bahadur Haji Abdulla Haji Kasim Saheb Bahadur. The need to start this bank was felt because there was no such facility at Udupi, an important trading centre next to Mangalore in D.K. District. The indigenous banking was largely in the hands of a few rich private individuals and something had to be done to provide relief to the common man from the clutches of the money lenders who held full sway. The first branch of a modern bank established in the district was the Bank of Madras, one of the three Presidency Banks, which set up its office in Mangalore in 1868 largely to cater to the business needs of a few British firms dealing in export of plantation products. Its agent used to visit Udupi once a fortnight or so, to do banking. Money remittances had to be made only through postal medium.
To overcome these drawbacks and also to provide banking facilities for Udupi in particular and the district in general, a cosmopolitan group of philanthropists led by Haji Abdulla Saheb made a bold venture to start this institution. What inspired the founding fathers was the fervour of Swadeshism. For promoting the Bank , the Founder President made an appeal saying , " The primary object in forming the ‘Corporation' is not only to cultivate habits of thrift amongst all classes of people , without distinction of caste or creed, but also habits of co-operation amongst all classes. This is ‘Swdeshism', pure and simple and every lover of the country is expected to come forward and co-operate in achieving the end in view." They rightly defined Swadeshism as institution-building to aid economic activity through co-operation of all, shorn of distinction of caste and creed
"The Canara Banking Corporation (Udupi) Ltd.," as the institution was called then, started functioning as a ‘Nidhi' with a humble beginning. The initial capital was Rs.5000/- and at the end of the first day, its resources stood at 38 Rupees - 13 Annas and 2 Pies.
The setting up of the Canara Banking Corporation Ltd. seems to have given a fillip to co-operative Banking and also to regular banking elsewhere in the district. Between 1909 and 1917, six co-operative banks came into being and during the decade immediately after the First World War (1914-18) South Kanara gave birth to as many as eight banks. It is to the credit of this Bank that despite two world wars, economic depression and stiff competition, the Bank not only quite survived, but also made satisfactory progress .
Having been started at Udupi, the Bank first branched out by opening a branch at Kundapur in 1923. The second branch of the Bank was opened in Mangalore at Car Street in 1926. The Bank stepped into Kodagu District in 1934 by opening its seventh branch in Madikeri. In 1937, the Bank was included in the second schedule of Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. In 1939, the Bank's name changed from "Canara Banking Corporation (Udupi) Ltd." to "Canara Banking Corporation Ltd." The Bank graduated into a Regional Bank in 1945 when the total number of its branches stood at 28. In the year 1961, it took over ‘Bank of Citizens, Belgaum.' In the same year, the Bank's Administration Office shifted from Udupi to Mangalore.
The second change in the name of the Bank occured in 1972, from ‘Canara Banking Corporation Ltd'. to ‘Corporation Bank Limited.' The Bank was nationalised in 1980 along with 5 other private sector banks. After nationalisation, the pace of growth of the Bank accelerated and it made all-round progress. Started as a common man's bank, it changed with the times to meet the aspirations of the people but never swerved from its motto- "Sarve Janah Sukhino Bhavantu" meaning Prosperity for All . It endeavoured and succeeded in striking a right balance between traditional values and innovative approach, personalised service and professional outlook and commercial considerations and public concern. One of the unique achievements of the Bank is that it has been paying dividend continuously for the last 98 years since its inception. Today, with the most modern technology-driven products and services and nationwide branches & ATMs, Corporation Bank stands tall among the Public Sector Banks in the country and is hailed as one among the well-managed Public Sector Banks with excellent track record in all the key parameters of banking. The Bank has the second largest ATM network in the public sector.
Corporation Bank had the honour of playing host to many a distinguished personality. During the Bank's Platinum Jubilee Celebrations in 1976, the new Administrative Office Building at Pandeshwar Mangalore was opened by Shri B.D.Jatti, the then Vice-President of India. The bronze statue of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru installed by the Bank at the Traffic Island in front of its Corporate Office at Pandeshwar Mangalore, was unveiled by Mr. Justice E.S. Venkataramaiah, the then Chief Justice of India. In 1992, His Excellency Shri R. Venkataraman, the then President of India, visited the Bank to inaugurate its 85th anniversary celebrations and 60th anniversary of the Bank's commencement of operation in Tamil Nadu state. In the year 1996, Mr. Justice A.M.Ahmadi, the then Chief Justice of India, visited the Bank to deliver the 90th year commemorative lecture. ‘Corporation Bank House', the new premises of the Bank's Car Street Mangalore branch, was inaugurated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, who was then the Union Finance Minister. Dr. C. Rangarajan, the then Governor of Reserve Bank of India, launched the prestigious deposit product Corp Classic during his visit to the Bank's Corporate Office in 1997. The Bank's new Millennium Building was inaugurated by the then Union Minister of State for Finance Shri Vikhe Patil in the year 2000. In the same year, Shri Yashwant Sinha, who was the Hon'ble Union Finance Minister at that time, launched the Bank's CorpFast product at the Corporate Office.
Corporation Bank has completed 100 years of its purposeful and fruitful existence on 12th March, 2006. The Centenary celebrations were launched by Shri V. Leeladhar, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India with the Bank's Foundation Day lecture on 12th March, 2005.
As a part of the Bank's centenary celebratons, a number of programmes and projects were planned and executed. As a first step, the Bank has launched the Corp Kissan Card - debit card tied up with VISA international,, to enable the farmers make timely purchases for agricultural operations.at Yeshwantpur-Malur in Kolar District on 13th March 2005. A modern public library was dedicated to the citizens of Mangalore in DK District, the birth place of the Bank by Shri P. Chidambaram, Hon'ble Union Finance Minister on 12th March, 2006. The library building also houses a Numismatic Museum and a multi purpose hall for intellectual activities. The Bank has also set up libraries in 25 villages and given away scholarship to 100 meritorious students of such villages for the pursuit of their higher education. Such libraries will be set up in 75 more villages in a phased manner. Corporation Bank - A Corporate Journey , the history of the Bank and Haji Abdullah Saheb a biography of the Bank's Founder President have been published on the occasion of the valedictory function of the Bank's Centenary Celebrations.