Around 2,800 of 12,500 eligible employees of State Bank of India (SBI) subsidiaries have applied for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) following the merger, chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said on Monday. The scheme ends on April 5 and the final numbers would be available only after that, she said. Asked whether the bank plans to offer VRS to its employees apart from employees of the subsidiaries, Bhattacharya said, “At this point, no, and going forward we will see”.
The bank will now have 2,70,011 employees, with 69,191 joining from associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB). To be eligible for the VRS scheme, employees need to have more than 20 years of experience at State Bank and should be of 55 years or more, she said. “The programme is, however, not for people in specialist roles.” She explained that once audits are completed, from April 24 onwards, every weekend one bank will be taken and the data of that bank will be merged. “The granular data merger will take place post April 24 one bank per weekend. In respect of the extended weekend, that is, wherever we have Saturday and Sunday off, it will be two banks,” she said. Effectively, the bank plans to complete the entire granular level data merger by May 27.
According to her, there were five different headquarters, but now SBI has created only two additional local head offices – one in Jaipur and one for Andhra Pradesh. “Till such time we get appropriate space in the Andhra capital, both the local head offices will operate out of Hyderabad. We have identified about 1,800 branches which are in very close proximity and those branches will be relocated,” she said, adding that the merged entity has around 24,000 branches and maybe, in the next two-three years, the number will not go up. “Rationalisation will start in the second quarter.”
The balance sheet size of the consolidated bank will be around `37 lakh crore from `29 lakh crore at present. The five subsidiaries are: State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Hyderabad. SBI had earlier merged two subsidiaries – State Bank of Saurashtra in 2008 and State Bank of Indore in 2010. BMB was created by the erstwhile UPA government to lend, primarily to women.