Karnal is situated within the National Capital Region. It functions as the headquarters of the Karnal District of Haryana. It is believed that the city was founded by Karna, an important figure in the Hindu epic of Mahabharata, who had died at the hands of archrival and his half-brother, Arjuna. It is one of the 100 cities that are being developed into smart cities as per PM Narendra Modis Smart Cities Mission. It is one of the cleanest cities in the country that houses many reputed educational institutions like Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College, Maharana Pratap Horticultural University of Karnal, Dyal Singh College, and branches of famous schools like Delhi Public School and Kendriya Vidyalaya. The city served as a refuge for the British survivors during the 1857 Uprising in Delhi.
In 1964 the head office of Indian Overseas Bank was inaugurated at Mount Road. The Indian Overseas Bank has been the first public sector bank to introduce mobile banking services using Wireless Application Protocol(WAP). On 29 August 2003, the Indian Overseas Bank has opened an extension counter at Bambalapitiya, Ceylon. In 2005, the IOB began a representative office in Guangzhou; China followed which the bank opened another representative office in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, UAE. In 2007 The bank took over Bharat Overseas Bank. After three years, Malaysia granted a commercial banking license to a local bank jointly owned by Bank Of Baroda, Indian Overseas Bank, and the Andhra Bank. The new bank named, India International Bank (IIB Malaysia), began its operations in 2012 in Kuala Lumpur and had a large population of Indians. The Andhra Bank has a 25% stake in its joint-venture, BOB owns 40%, and remaining 35% is with IOB. On 31 August 2013, the Indian Overseas Bank has incorporated an offshore banking unit in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The bank also converted its existing Extension Counter at Ceylon into a full-fledged branch. In 2014-15, the IOB bank has crossed the target of 3000 ATMs as on 2014.IOB also launched m passbook app as a new mobile banking initiative.