More than 3,400 branches of 26 PSB closed or merged in the last 5 years: RTI

Indore, November 3 () More than 3,400 branches of 26 public sector banks (PSBs) have been closed or merged during the last five financial years due to the merger under the consolidation exercise in the banking space, an RTI consultation revealed.

Of this, 75 percent of the affected branches belong to the largest lender in the country, the State Bank of India (SBI).

In a consultation under the Right to Information Act (RTI) presented by a Neemuch Chandrashekhar Gaud-based activist, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reported that 26 PSBs in the country closed or merged 90 branches during the year Fiscal 2014-15, 126 branches in 2015-16, 253 branches in 2016-17, 2,083 branches in 2017-18 and 875 branches during 2018-19.

The RTI information came out at a time when the Center plans to consolidate 10 PSB into four mega state lenders.

According to the RTI response, the 2,568 maximum branches of the SBI were affected by the merger or closure in the last five financial years.

The RBI reported that Bharatiya Mahila Bank, Bikaner and Jaipur State Bank, Hyderabad State Bank, Mysore State Bank, Patiala State Bank and Travancore State Bank merged with SBI from April 1 of 2017.

In addition, the merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda entered into force on April 1 of this year.

Meanwhile, public bank employee organizations have opposed the new government plan to consolidate banking space.

The Secretary General of the Employees Association of India Bank (AIBEA), C H Venkatachalam, said that at least 7,000 branches of these banks could be affected, if the government forms four large banks of the ten state banks in the country.

Most of these affected branches will be from the subways and cities.

Venkatachalam expressed fear that the proposed merger would decrease the business of interested PSBs.

In general, it is seen that customers stop banking with the branch, once it is closed or merged with another.

However, economist Jayantilal Bhandari said that the merger of PSB is the need of the hour.

The Ministry of Finance will benefit after the creation of large banks by merging smaller public sector banks. In addition, large state banks will be able to distribute relatively more loans to ordinary people due to their strong financial situation, which will stimulate economic growth in the country, he said. HWP ADU BNM MKJ

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