No hindrance in merger of associate banks: SBI chief

August 19th, 2008 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 19 (IANS) State Bank of India (SBI) chairman O.P. Bhatt Tuesday said he did not see any hindrance in merger of associate banks with the SBI despite protest strikes by some of the employees.”I see no hindrance to the merger of associate banks with the parent bank, as employees on both sides were in favour of such a move and were happy about it,” Bhatt told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

Officers of the SBI and its seven associate banks struck work Monday to protest the merger of the State Bank of India and the State Bank of Saurashtra, while employees of other state-run banks have called for a similar strike Wednesday.

Asked about the timeline for the merger of other associate banks such as State Bank of Mysore (SBM) and State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) with the SBI, Bhatt said it would depend on how the ongoing merger with State Bank of Saurashtra (SBS) in Gujarat proceeds.

“We don’t know when we will take up merger of other (associate) banks. We have to see how quickly and smoothly the merger of the SBS proceeds and what difficulties we face and how the people feel about it. We will take it from there, depending on the experience,” Bhatt noted.

Down-playing the strike by the SBI group officers and employees of other banks, Bhatt said he was not aware of their concerns, if any, over the merger.

“Do you know their concerns? I am not aware what their concerns are and don’t see any employee backlash over it. The merger is not something which has happened overnight. Work on the merger was going on for over a year and there has never been an issue about it,” Bhatt asserted.

Bhatt was on a day’s visit to Bangalore to participate in the launch of the country’s largest bank’s loan scheme for poor heart patients by Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus. The SBI Hrudaya Suraksha scheme will be offered for cardiac treatment at Narayana Hrudayalaya health city on the outskirts of Bangalore.

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