200 SBT branches on the chopping block

The State Bank of India (SBI) may shut down around 200 branches of the State Bank of Travancore (SBT) in Kerala. Official sources have already informed the bank unions that 204 of the SBT branches in the State are up for closure.

“But we apprehend more closures,” said K.S. Krishna, general secretary, State Bank of Travancore Employees Union. According to him, with the closure of 204 branches there would be a surplus of around 2,500 employees in the SBT in the State. SBI officials say they will be redeployed.

The SBI has 466 branches in Kerala and the SBT, 852. Nationally, the SBT has 1,177 branches and around 14,000 employees.

While bank unions are questioning the rationale behind the move, it is understood that the parent, SBI, is moving aggressively for the creation of a lean and mean global bank post-merger, a fallout of the SBI board approving the schemes of acquisition of the State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) and Bharatiya Mahila Bank Limited (BMBL), besides the SBT.

The Union Cabinet had taken a decision on merger of all the five associate banks of the SBI with the parent and acquisition of BMBL last month. As on March 31, 2016, the SBT had logged deposits of over Rs.1,01,000 crore and advances of over Rs.67,000 crore.

Dinesh Khara, Managing Director, SBI who is in charge of the merger, told The Hindu that there will, however, be no job losses. “The human resource and manpower rendered surplus due to merger or closure of administrative setups of associates banks would be redeployed in customer-facing functions like processing centres, marketing as also recovery and IT, which will have an immediate impact in terms of better services at branches and delivery, thus resulting in higher customer satisfaction and improved market share and profitability,” he said.

However, Mr. Khara said the process is still on and the final shape of rationalisation of branches is still in the works. In any case, there is no reason to believe that only branches of subsidiaries will be either merged or closed. “A comprehensive view on rationalisation, relocation and creation of specialised branches would be taken after the merger.”

According to him, the decision on this will be entirely driven by business consideration and business potential. The bank would like to utilise all branch licences to enlarge the footprint of State Bank and grow in developing areas.

However, he said, in case of credit-intensive branches of associate banks, especially in metros, which have exposures that are common with the SBI, these branches could see a change in their orientation.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 1:32:53 PM |

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