SBT directors want more transparency in merger with SBI

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 15 (IANS) Even as the proposed merger of the five associate banks with State Bank of India is going ahead, two shareholder directors of the State Bank of Travancore (SBT) have demanded more transparency in the merger.

Addressing reporters here on Thursday, former additional chief secretary with the Kerala government Sajen Peter and former Chief General Manager of SBT M.C. Jacob, both of whom are elected shareholder directors of the SBT, said that in all fairness they expect those taking forward the merger to do it in a transparent manner.

“We took part in the May 17, 2016, meeting of the board of directors of SBT in Mumbai and were surprised to see the ‘table agenda’ which spoke of the merger. Issues of this importance should have been included as an agenda after circulating it. We raised the issue of the previous mergers of State Bank of Saurashtra (SBS)and State Bank of Indore (SBIn) that took place in 2008 as we are yet to get details that were asked of that merger,” said Peter.

The two directors said that they are not against merger but the way it was being carried out.

“All we want is that the due process of law be followed and everything be done in a transparent manner. The previous experience of SBI taking over SBS and SBIn, did not augur well and despite our repeated pleas of having a look on the post-merger working results, it has not been made available,” said Jacob.

“We also had placed on record that the opinion of the Kerala government also needs to be sought as they are also shareholders in SBT. As shareholder representatives, we believe that informed decision making is crucial,” Jacob added.

Currently a petition has been filed in the Kerala High Court by a forum formed by various political parties, trade unions, bank beneficiary groups, customers, shareholders, mass organisations, trade and industry bodies, bank employees among others to protect SBT from being merged into SBI.

The division bench of the High Court has asked notices to be served to the Centre, SBI, RBI and SBT.

About 14,000 employees of SBT have already staged numerous protests against the proposed merger.

The 140-member Kerala Assembly also passed a resolution against the merger, with only one BJP member opposing it.

Popularly known as “Kerala’s own bank”, SBT is headquartered in the capital city and has been in existence for the past 70 years.

At the end of the previous fiscal the total business of SBT stood at Rs 1,68,123 crore, which comprises total deposits of Rs 1,01,119 crore and advances of Rs 67,004 crore.

–IANS

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