Staff Reporter

BEFI urges SBT to take the lead in lending

THRISSUR: The office-bearers of the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) have demanded that the banks in the State should invest more for the infrastructure development of the State.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday in connection with the ensuing national conference of the BEFI-affiliated State Bank of Travancore (SBT) Staff Union, they said such a change in attitude on the parts of the banks was particularly relevant in the context of the State Government formulating an alternative approach to the 11th Five-year Plan.

Pointing out that SBT's share in the State's total banking business is 22 per cent, the BEFI leaders said it is the only public sector bank in which the Kerala Government has equity participation.

So the SBT should take the lead in ensuring the flow of more bank credit into the infrastructural sector of the State, they said.

The BEFI office-bearers alleged that the bank managements were trying to transfer the huge costs associated with the implementation of the core banking system on to the customers. In 2001, the banks in the country had reduced their staff strength by making more than one lakh staff opt for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).

In SBT, the staff strength has thus come down from 13,234 in 1999 to 11,642 in 2006.

On the other hand there was a four-fold increase in the volume of the business of the bank.

The SBT management should take urgent steps to fill the vacancies in the bank as it has affected the customer service itself, the BEFI leaders said.

They said over 500 delegates from all over the country will participate in the three-day conference of the SBT Staff Union, which begins in Thrissur on Saturday.

K.G. James, president of the SBT Staff Union, A. Siauddin, BEFI State secretary and T. Narendran, district secretary, were among those who were present at the press conference.