The Bania (also spelled as Baniya, Banija, Banya, Vaniya, Vani, Vania and Vanya) is an occupational community of merchants, bankers, money-lenders, and (in modern times) owners of commercial enterprises. The community is composed of several sub-castes including the Agarwal Banias, Oswal Banias, and Porwal Banias, among others. The term is used in a wider sense in Bengal than it is elsewhere in India, where it is applied to all money-lenders and indigenously developed bankers, irrespective of caste. Most Banias follow Hinduism and Jainism but a few have converted to Sikhism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism.
The Banias were again predominantly Hindu, but there were many Jain Banias and also Sikh and Muslim Banias in lesser numbers, and very few Buddhist Banias. Such was the picture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Some, like the Khojah caste, are Bania groups converted to Islam by Muslim pirs (saints).
Here we are concerned only with upper backwards which have four castes ; Yadav ( 11.0 per cent ) , Koeri ( 4.0 per cent ) , Kurmi ( 3.5 per cent ) and Bania ( 0.6 per cent ) .