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 The economic reforms initiated by the Government of India about two decades ago have changed the landscape of several sectors of the Indian economy. The Indian banking sector is no exception. This sector is going through major changes as a consequence of economic reforms. The role of banking industry is very important as one of the leading and mostly essential service sector. India is the largest economy in the world having more than 120 crore population. Today in India the service sector is contributing half of the Indian GDP and the banking is most popular service sector in India. The significant role of banking industry is essential to speed up the social economic development. Banks plays an important role in the economic development of developing countries. Economic development involves investment in various sectors of the economy. The economic reforms have also generated new and powerful customers (huge Indian middle class) and new mix of players (public sector units, private banks, and foreign banks). The emerging competition has generated new expectations from the existing and the new customers. There is an urgent need to introduce new products. Existing products need to be delivered in an innovative and cost-effective way by taking full advantage of emerging technologies. The biggest opportunity for the Indian banking system today is the Indian consumer. Demographic shifts in terms of income levels and cultural shifts in terms of lifestyle aspirations are changing the profile of the Indian consumer. The Indian consumer now seeks to fulfil his lifestyle aspirations at a younger age with an optimal combination of equity and debt to finance consumption and asset creation. This is leading to a growing demand for competitive, sophisticated retail banking services. This paper explains the changing banking scenario, the impact of economic reforms and analyses the challenges and opportunities of national and commercial banks.

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