The Chartered Bank opened its first overseas branch in India, at Kolkata, on 12 April 1858. Eight years later the Kolkata agent described the Bank's credit locally as splendid and its business as flourishing, particularly the substantial turnover in rice bills with the leading Arab firms.
When The Chartered Bank first established itself in India, Kolkata was the most important commercial city, and was the centre of the jute and indigo trades. With the growth of the cotton trade and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Bombay took over from Kolkata as India's main trade centre. Today the Bank's branches and sub-branches in India are directed and administered from Mumbai (Bombay) with Kolkata remaining an important trading and banking centre.