The genesis of Indian Banking is associated to a large extent with Swadeshi Movement, which inspired many Indians to promote Swadeshi Banks in the beginning of the 20th Century. The enterprising founders of Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd also found this period to be a moment of opportunity to promote the establishment of a bank. Thus was born The Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd, Nine decades ago, on 26th November 1920 to be exact at Thrissur,which in later years acquired the unique distinction of being a centre with the highest concentration of banks in the South. The founder directors of the bank were people of eminence known for their foresight, integrity and initiative. The policy they laid down has been consistently upheld by the successive generations who guided the destiny of the institution. The bank commenced business on January 1st, 1921 with an authorised capital of Rs.5 lakhs and a paid up capital of Rs. 45270/-
During the first two decades of its functioning, the Bank concentrated only in Kerala. Banks and credit institutions which proliferated especially in Kerala received a jolt and many of them came to their doom following the crash of the Travancore National Quilon Bank in 1938 followed by Palai Central Bank in1960. During the period many small banks came to the verge of collapse shaking the confidence of the public and what followed was a process of consolidation. The strategy of mergers and amalgamations of small banks with bigger banks brought the number of banks within controllable limits, thereby making the industry's base strong. In 1964-65, The Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd took part in taking over the liabilities and assets of five small/medium sized banks in Kerala. The expansion programme initiated during these years gathered momentum in the subsequent years.