Kerala Chief Minister urge Centre to take up SBI-SBT merger issues

The State government will exert pressure on the Centre to address the issues arising out of the merger of the State Bank of Travancore with the State Bank of India, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said.

Replying to a submission by K. Rajan, Mr. Vijayan told the Assembly on Thursday that the merger had had a negative impact on the employees of the erstwhile SBT as well as the customers. “Post-merger, SBI is preparing to close down 300 branches across Kerala while the employees are being indiscriminately transferred. For customers, it has resulted in a hike in service charges.”

Mr. Vijayan said the SBI was now reluctant to offer credit for small-scale industries in Kerala even though 50% of the deposits from the State were parked in the bank. “It is widely feared that SBI would adopt corporate-friendly policies that go against the interests of the larger public.”

Pointing out that the State government had written to the Union Finance Minister expressing these concerns, he said Kerala would exert more pressure on the Centre to address the post-merger issues.

Earlier, moving the submission, Mr. Rajan said most of the fears over the merger of associate banks with the SBI had proved to be true. Accusing the SBI of adopting a vindictive attitude to the employees of the erstwhile the SBT, he said it was guilty of flouting labour laws. The SBI management, he said, was not even ready to settle a 25-day agitation by employees to press their demands.

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