Arundhati Bhattacharya’s term as the Chairman of State Bank of India (SBI) has been extended by the central government, till October 2017. This move has been made to ensure smooth merger of the SBI’s five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank. Arundhati Bhattacharya’s three-year tenure at the helm of the India’s biggest bank according to assets started in October, 2013. SBI at its helm has Arundhati Bhattacharya as the Chairman, and B Sriram, VG Kannan, Rajnish Kumar and PK Gupta as the four Managing Directors. Bhattacharya’s three-year term was supposed to come to an end by the end of September, but the dire need for continuity come because of the consolidation of the banks. The government reportedly also consulted the Bank Board Bureau (BBB) to come to the decision of the extension of her term as the SBI Chairman.
The Appointments Committee of Cabinet came to this decision of term extension. This move will help the government to complete the process of merger within this fiscal year. This year in June 15, the Cabinet approved SBI’s proposal for merger, which can place the bank among the top 50 banks in the world in terms of assets. Bhattacharya, after the Cabinet approval on the merger, has said, “The merger of SBI and its associate banks is a win-win for both. While the network of SBI would stand to increase, its reach would multiply. One can expect efficiencies to be created from rationalisation of branches, common treasury pooling and proper deployment of a large skilled resource base.” During the 2016 fiscal year, SBI’s gross non-performing assets (GNPAs) reportedly grew to 73 percent which is about Rs 1 lakh crore. Indian government had also put in Rs 7,575 crore capital in the bank. Bhattacharya also has a good rapport with employee unions who generally oppose the mergers, but she can help in convincing them.