Raj Kumar Talwar born in 1922 joined the Imperial Bank of India at Lahore in November 1943 as a Probationary Assistant, immediately after taking his M.A. degree in Mathematics from Lahore University. He had an outstanding career in the Bank. He was Superintendent of Branches and Superintendent of Advances in the Bengal Circle of State Bank of India and Inspector of Branches under Central Office. In 1961, he was appointed Deputy Secretary and Treasurer in Bengal Circle. A year later, he moved to Madras Circle in the same capacity .He became the first Secretary and Treasurer of the Hyderabad Circle when it was created in 1965. In January 1966, Talwar was appointed as Secretary and Treasurer of Bombay Circle.
On 1 February 1968 when he was appointed as one of the two Managing Directors of the State Bank, he became the youngest to adorn that office.
A new chapter in the banking industry began with professional bankers taking positions as Bank Chiefs when Talwar became Chairman of the State Bank of India on 1 March 1969. The youngest Chairman ever, he gave a sense of direction and a new orientation to the Bank as never before. Besides expanding the Bank's business manifold by extending its reach, his missionary zeal saw the State Bank take several initiatives in the areas of innovative banking, rehabilitation of sick industries, credit plans for rural development, etc. He ensured simplification procedures for financing of small-scale industries and launched new schemes for the benefit of smaller entrepreneurs, small businessmen and agriculturists. He also put in place systems to ensure the end-use of bank funds besides comprehensive analysis of corporate balance sheets much before the Reserve Bank prescribed norms for credit analysis of large advances. It was again his rare vision and foresight that initiated the first ever organizational restructuring exercise of the State Bank in 1971, which withstood the test of time for well over three decades.
A highly principled banker, Talwar was known for his values, integrity, dynamism and professionalism. All through his career, he gave his best to nurture a culture of openness, frankness and transparency in the Bank and bitterly opposed arbitrary decisions. A man of exceptional attributes and indomitable spirit, with an abiding faith in the Grace of the Divine and honesty and integrity as his guideposts, Talwar commanded respect both within and outside the Bank. To him principles dear to his heart were above all else and never was he ready to compromise with them. When he left the Bank on 3rd August 1976, he was only 54.By then, hailed as one of the country's most distinguished bankers, Talwar had galvanized the Bank by his vision, dynamism and dedication. His was undoubtedly the golden era of the State Bank. He decided to settle in Pondicherry and even though his connections with the corporate world did not cease as he served several boards of companies and headed the Industrial Development Bank of India for a couple of years in the late 1970s, he was now more focused on spiritual matters. He lived a Spartan life and was often seen moving around the town of Pondicherry on a bicycle. Talwar breathed his last on 23 April 2002 at the age of 80.
Talwar's name is closely linked with the topic of Customer Service as he was the Chairman of the Committee on Customer Service (1975). Today whenever customer service related issues are discussed and debated, the far reaching recommendations made by the Talwar Committee are often quoted.