ABSTRACT

Anglo-Indian banking was almost coeval with British rule in India . The bank established by the East India Company's servants in Bombay in the eighteenth century probably had features which borrowed equally from British innovations and Indian customs. 1 Many agency houses dating from the late eighteenth century established their own banks (legally , partnership firms) and almost invariably had Indian banians, shroffs or dubashes attached to them. The first proper joint-stock bank in British India, the Bank of Bengal , had a separate khazanchee's (treasurer's) department , with an Indian in charge : the clerks and the cashkeepers were supposed to be , but were not always, recruited by the khazanchee and worked under the dual control of the khazanchee and the (British) secretary and treasurer of the bank . 2 Until the 1850s, the bank accounts were kept in Bengali , and figures were transferred to English account books from these rokars, on separate slips of paper called chits. While the Anglo-Indian banks primarily catered for a European clientele , they also dealt largely with Indian customers , and discounting of the Indian-style bill of exchange , the hundi, or hoondee, was a major source of income for them .