PNB was founded in the year 1894 at Lahore (presently in Pakistan) as an off-shoot of the Swadeshi Movement. Among the inspired founders were Sardar Dayal Singh Majithia, Lala HarKishen Lal, Lala Lalchand, Shri Kali Prosanna Roy, Shri E.C. Jessawala, Shri Prabhu Dayal, Bakshi Jaishi Ram, Lala Dholan Dass.
With a common missionary zeal they set about establishing a national bank; the first one with Indian capital — owned, managed and operated by the Indians for the benefit of the Indians. The Lion of Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai, was actively associated with the management of the Bank in its formative years.
The Bank made steady progress right from its inception. It has shown resilience to tide over many a crisis. It withstood the crisis in banking industry of 1913 and the severe depression of the thirties.
It survived the most critical period in its history — the Partlition of 1947 — when it was uprooted from its major area of operations. It was the farsightedness of the management that the registered office of the Bank was shifted from Lahore to Delhi in June 1947 — even before the announcement of the Partition.
Lala Lajpat Rai
With the passage of time the Bank grew to strength spreading its wings from one corner of the country to another. Some smaller banks like, The Bhagwan Dass Bank Limited, Universal Bank of India, The Bharat Bank Limited, The Indo-Commercial Bank Limited, The Hindustan Commercial Bank Limited and The Nedungadi Bank were brought within its fold.
PNB has the privilege of maintaining accounts of the illustrious national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, Shrimati Indira Gandhi besides the account of the famous Jalianwala Bagh Committee.
Nationalisation of the fourteen major banks on 19th July, 1969 was a major step for the banking industry. PNB was one amongst these. As a result, banking was given a new direction and thrust.
The banks were expected to reach people in every nook and corner, meet their needs, and work for their economic upliftment. Removal of poverty and regional imbalances were accorded a high priority.
PNB has always responded enthusiastically to the nation’s needs. It has been earnestly engaged in the task of national development. In the process, the bank has emerged as a major nationalised bank.