Types of Cooperative Banks in India

Cooperative banks play an important role in the Indian banking sector by providing banking services to rural and semi-urban areas. These banks are established with the main objective of promoting thrift and mutual help among the members. The roots of the cooperative banking movement in India can be traced back to the close of the 19th century when the first cooperative credit societies legislation was passed in 1904. Since then the cooperative banking movement has seen impressive growth throughout the country.

Types of Cooperative Banks in India

There are two main types of cooperative banks in India:

  • Primary Cooperative Banks
  • State Cooperative Banks

Primary cooperative banks are formed at the grassroot level to provide short-term and medium-term loans to farmers, artisans, small entrepreneurs etc. These banks are established in rural and semi-urban areas to serve people at the local level. Primary cooperative banks are further sub-divided into agricultural and non-agricultural cooperative banks.

State cooperative banks are established to provide long-term finance to primary cooperative banks. They act as a link between the primary cooperative banks and the Reserve Bank of India. State cooperative banks mobilize funds and help in its proper channelization among various sectors.

Functions of Cooperative Banks

The major functions performed by cooperative banks are:

  • Accepting deposits from members and public
  • Providing short-term, medium-term and long-term loans
  • Providing overdraft facility to members
  • Discounting bills of exchange
  • Issuing demand drafts and pay orders
  • Providing safe deposit locker facility
  • Undertaking government agency business

In addition to the traditional banking functions, cooperative banks also perform certain specialized functions. These include:

  • Providing finance to small scale industries, small business units, salaried employees, artisans, etc.
  • Providing agricultural loans including short-term, medium-term and long-term loans
  • Providing consumer loans for purchase of consumer durables
  • Financing housing and consumer needs of borrowers

Regulation of Cooperative Banks

Cooperative banks in India come under the regulatory purview of the Reserve Bank of India and are registered under the Cooperative Societies Act. The cooperative banking structure in India is three-tiered in nature with the Reserve Bank of India at the apex, followed by state cooperative banks and primary cooperative banks at the bottom.

Some key regulations governing cooperative banks are:

  • Cooperative banks are required to maintain cash reserve ratio and statutory liquidity ratio as prescribed by RBI.
  • Cooperative banks have restricted area of operation and cannot expand beyond the state of registration unlike commercial banks.
  • Deposit insurance facility of DICGC is available for cooperative banks like other commercial banks.
  • Cooperative banks are under dual control of Registrar of Cooperative Societies and RBI.

Challenges Faced by Cooperative Banks

Some of the major challenges confronting the cooperative banks are:
  • Inability to attract and retain talented workforce
  • Financial constraints inhibiting provision of technology-based services
  • Lack of diversification in business and services
  • Controlled regulatory environment restricting expansion
  • Increasing competition from commercial banks
  • High level of non-performing assets

Recent Developments

Some recent developments related to the cooperative banking sector are:

  • RBI has set up an expert committee under the leadership of Y.M. Deosthalee to examine the issues and challenges faced by urban cooperative banks.
  • Budget 2022-23 proposed setting up of an Agriculture Accelerator Fund to finance start-ups and rural enterprises.
  • RBI has initiated structural reforms such as voluntary transition scheme for turning UCBs into Small Finance Banks.
  • RBI has taken steps to improve governance, performance and regulatory compliance of cooperative banks.
  • Merger of district cooperative banks with state cooperative banks is being encouraged by RBI for consolidation.

The cooperative banking structure is well positioned to provide an impetus to rural economies and serve the unbanked sections of the population. However, cooperative banks need to overcome various challenges through governance reforms, improved risk management and leveraging technology. The future outlook of cooperative banks appears positive with recent policy initiatives.

Bharat Cooperative Bank

Bharat Cooperative Bank is a leading cooperative bank in India that provides banking services to customers in urban, semi-urban and rural areas. Headquartered in Mumbai, BCB Bank has a network of over 200 branches across 10 states. It is one of the fastest growing cooperative banks in the country.


Bharat Cooperative Bank was registered in 1959 under the Cooperative Societies Act 1912. It started operations with a modest capital of ₹25 lakhs and 28 branches in Maharashtra. Over the decades, the bank has expanded its scale and scope of operations significantly.

Some key milestones in BCB Bank's growth trajectory are:

  • Expanded to 100 branches by 1980
  • Crossed ₹100 crores in deposits in 1990
  • Opened 150th Branch in 2000
  • Launched internet banking services in 2010
  • Surpassed ₹5,000 crores in total business in 2015
  • Opened 200th Branch in 2019

Organizational Structure

BCB Bank has a three-tier organizational structure consisting of a Head Office, Regional Offices and Branch Offices.

The Board of Directors is the highest decision making body consisting of 10 members elected from shareholders. The Chairman provides strategic direction and leadership to the Board.

The Chief Executive Officer manages the overall operations of the bank. Other key positions include Chief Financial Officer, Company Secretary, Heads of Credit, Operations, Risk, Treasury, HR and IT.

Products and Services

BCB Bank offers a wide range of banking products and services to cater to customers across segments. The major offerings include:

  • Savings Accounts
  • Current Accounts
  • Fixed Deposits
  • Recurring Deposits
  • Debit Cards
  • Loans - Housing, Vehicle, Agricultural, MSME, Gold Loan etc.
  • Insurance Products
  • Locker Facility
  • Merchant Banking Services

BCB Bank has embraced technology to provide internet banking, mobile banking, SMS banking, missed call banking and doorstep banking services. The bank has implemented Core Banking Solutions across all its branches.

Financial Performance

Some key financial highlights of BCB Bank are:

  • Deposits - ₹8,200 crores (FY 2021-22)
  • Advances - ₹5,500 crores (FY 2021-22)
  • Net Profit - ₹125 crores (FY 2021-22)
  • Net NPA - 1.8% (FY 2021-22)
  • Capital Adequacy Ratio - 14.5% (FY 2021-22)

BCB Bank has achieved consistent growth in business and profits over the years. It has maintained healthy asset quality and capital adequacy levels.

Future Plans

Going forward, BCB Bank plans to expand its distribution network by adding 50 more branches in the next 2 years. The bank aims to improve customer experience by rolling out more technology-enabled offerings. It also plans to expand its MSME and affordable housing loan portfolio to support economic growth.

Careers at Bharat Cooperative Bank

Bharat Cooperative Bank provides excellent career advancement opportunities for banking professionals. The bank recruits candidates for various positions including:

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Senior Manager
  • Manager
  • Computer Manager
  • Accountant
  • Assistant Accountant
  • Clerk

Eligible candidates can apply for these positions when notifications are issued on the bank's website and leading newspapers. The selection process involves a written test followed by an interview round.

Exam Pattern

The written exam for different posts at BCB Bank consists of objective type multiple choice questions covering:

  • Reasoning Ability
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • English Language
  • General Awareness
  • Computer Knowledge

The written test is conducted for a total of 100 marks. Candidates have to secure minimum qualifying marks in each section and overall to progress to the interview round. The final selection is based on combined performance in the written test and interview.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria prescribed by BCB Bank for its job openings related to age, educational qualification and experience varies for different positions. Some key requirements are:

  • Chief Executive Officer - Graduate degree, 10+ years of experience
  • Senior Manager - Post graduate degree, 5 years of experience
  • Manager - Graduate degree, 3 years of experience
  • Accountant - B.Com degree
  • Clerk - 12th Pass

Apart from academic qualification and experience, the candidate must possess relevant knowledge and skills for the position. Proficiency in computers is mandatory for most vacancies at BCB Bank.

Salary and Perks

BCB Bank offers attractive pay scales and allowances to its employees based on their post and experience. The salary structure is revised periodically in alignment with industry standards. Employees are also provided benefits such as:

  • Medical Insurance
  • Accident Insurance
  • Employee Stock Options
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Loans at Concessional Rates

In addition to monetary benefits, the bank provides intangible benefits like training programs, career growth opportunities and pleasant work culture.

Exam Preparation Tips

Here are some useful tips to prepare for BCB Bank written exam:

  • Go through the detailed syllabus and exam pattern thoroughly
  • Solve previous years question papers to understand the difficulty level and familiarize with the format
  • Practice mock tests to assess your performance and identify improvement areas
  • Work on your weak areas by studying relevant study material
  • Prepare short revision notes to remember key facts, formulae, concepts etc.
  • Manage your time efficiently during the exam and maintain speed and accuracy

By following a strategic approach and diligent preparation, candidates can aim to secure the cut off marks and get shortlisted for the interview round.


Cooperative banks serve an important social and economic purpose by providing banking access to underserved communities. Bharat Cooperative Bank is a leading player providing growth opportunities to banking professionals. Aspiring candidates should utilize previous years papers and suggested preparation strategies to successfully clear the written exam and personal interview stages.

Topic Key Points
Cooperative Banks Types, functions, regulations, challenges, developments
Bharat Cooperative Bank History, structure, products, performance, future plans
BCB Careers Posts, selection process, eligibility, salary
Exam Preparation Syllabus, sample papers, tips


Q1: How are cooperative banks regulated in India?

A1: Cooperative banks in India are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and come under the purview of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. They need to comply with norms related to cash reserve ratio, statutory liquidity ratio, capital adequacy, provisioning for bad loans etc. laid down by RBI.

Q2: What are the different types of cooperative banks in India?

A2: The cooperative banking structure in India consists of Primary Cooperative Banks formed at the grassroot level and State Cooperative Banks at state level. Primary cooperative banks are further classified into urban and rural cooperative banks.

Q3: What is the selection process for jobs at Bharat Cooperative Bank?

A3: The selection process at BCB Bank involves a written examination followed by a personal interview. The written exam tests candidates on reasoning, quantitative aptitude, English language, general awareness and computer knowledge. Eligible candidates based on written scores are called for interview and final merit list is prepared.

Q4: How can one prepare for the written test conducted by Bharat Cooperative Bank?

A4: One should thoroughly read the exam pattern and syllabus to understand the structure and topics. Solving previous years papers is highly recommended. Practicing mock tests helps assess preparation level. Focus should be on improving weaker areas. Revising formulas, concepts and preparing notes also helps.

Q5: What are some of the challenges faced by cooperative banks?

A5: Cooperative banks face challenges such as financial constraints, lack of professional workforce, limited use of technology, restricted area of operation, high NPAs, competition from commercial banks etc. They need to overcome these by improving governance, risk management and enhancing skill sets.

Q6: What are the main functions of cooperative banks?

A6: The main functions include accepting deposits, providing loans, overdraft facility, remittance services, cash credit facility, discounting of bills, locker facilities etc. They also provide specific services like agricultural loans, loans to small enterprises, self-help groups, consumer loans etc. tailored to local needs.


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