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Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Banks reach out to staff before merger

  • Senior bankers are engaging in remote conferencing with zonal and branch offices to sort out glitches
  • Banks are functioning with a skeletal staff

MUMBAI : India’s banking landscape is set to witness the biggest consolidation exercise on Wednesday with the merger of 10 public sector banks into four. The managements of the banks are leaving no stone unturned to ensure a smooth transition, with senior bankers engaged in day-long remote conferencing with respective zonal and branch offices to sort out glitches, said three top bankers on Tuesday.

The banks, functioning with skeletal staff because of the lockdown to stem the spread of the covid-19 pandemic, are having to rely on video conferencing to communicate with employees and customers.

In August, the Centre announced the merger of Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank with Union Bank of India, that of Syndicate Bank with Canara Bank, the amalgamation of United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce with Punjab National Bank (PNB), as well as that of Allahabad Bank and Indian Bank. Union Bank, Canara Bank, PNB, and Indian Bank will be the four anchor banks that will absorb their smaller peers.

The Union Bank of India management is holding last-minute meetings with the zonal offices through videoconferencing, said the bank’s chief executive, Rajkiran Rai G. “We are using social media to communicate with the staff and I have also written direct letters to customers. With zonal heads, we are talking through videoconferencing," said Rai. The bank has also decided on the new reporting hierarchy for the merged entity, he said.

“For Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank, the reporting structure will remain the same as earlier below the general manager level. The general managers for these two banks have been mapped to report to Union Bank’s executive directors," he said.

The bank has integrated the call centres of all three banks and will offer only basic services till 15 April. “As it is, customer footfall is also low, but from tomorrow salaries, pensions and direct benefit transfer (DBT) will start coming in and there will be some extra load at the branches, which we will manage," he said. The bank has identified branches in which DBT credit could be higher and extra manpower will be provided in these branches, said Rai.

The Mumbai-based bank has also developed a microsite listing more than 800 frequently asked questions. The merged entity will have 75,000 employees.

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