With the April 1 deadline for mega merger of 10 state-run banks into four fast approaching, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has clearly asserted that there is no uncertainty about the consolidation process which is going on as per the schedule. Last year in August, the government announced the consolidation of 10 public sector banks into four mega state-owned lenders effective April 1.
United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce would be merged with Punjab National Bank, making the proposed entity the second largest public sector bank. It was decided to merge Syndicate Bank with Canara Bank, while Allahabad Bank with Indian Bank. Similarly, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank are to be consolidated with Union Bank of India.
“There are no uncertainty about bank merger … I must thank all the banks because through their boards they have taken that call. There is absolutely no uncertainty,” she said when asked if the government is reconsidering the proposed merger excercise.
“We are also conscious of extra load on them in terms of the kind of demands that I put on them. I have asked them to reach out to 400 districts, I have asked them to reach out to MSME, restructure their loan. So there is a lot of core banking work which they are undertaking. I must be conscious of that also.
“So the merger and the decision taken by respective banks board are all well taken. We are going as per schedule on that. There is no uncertainty on that. I am on course. There need not be speculation,” she said after unveiling EASE 3.0, the Public Sector Bank (PSB) Reforms Agenda 2020-21 for smart, tech-enabled banking, and the PSB EASE Reforms Annual Report 2019-20.