Bank officers union flays SBI-associate banks' merger plan

Mumbai, May 19 : The All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) on Thursday condemned the State Bank of India's "attempt to fast-forward mergers and acquisitions in the financial sector" by initiating process of mergers of its five associate banks.

AIBOA general secretary S. Nagarajan said that the sudden and serious step by the SBI on Tuesday was "part of reform exercise move" of the central government and demanded that it should reject the merger plans.

The five associate banks are: State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Patiala

Nagarajan said that the SBI move would result in several retrograde steps like denial of bank access to the people, defeat of the policy of financial inclusion, denial of economic development of the respective states where the associate banks are headquartered, affect choice of customers to deal with a particular bank, while the mergers would be "anti-thesis to development" of the economy.

"Keeping in mind the banking expansion, as 52 percent of the population is not having access to banking facilities, we demand the centre must not give consent to the SBI proposal," he said.

With the growth map of SBI in the "reverse mode", he demanded that the SBI branches in the five states - Telangana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Karnataka and Kerala - should be merged with the five associate banks to provide a level playing field between the SBI and the associate banks, on the lines of the IDBI and IDBI Bank.

The AIBOA has also extended its support to the proposed strike call on Friday given by the State Sector Bank Employees Association.

The SBI on Tuesday announced plans to initiate negotiations for merging the five associate banks and also the takeover of the Bhartiya Mahila Bank into its fold, which has sparked off angry reactions in the banking circles.