State Bank of India (SBI) has completed the merger of its associate banks at the levels of core banking system (CBS), treasuries, web channels, and reporting, chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya told reporters on Monday. The bank has undertaken an asset quality review (AQR) of the merged entity and set aside `8,600 crore in provisions, she said.
What has been the magnitude of the merger exercise?
We have created a CBS database which is about 500 tera byte, which is, I guess, the biggest Oracle database in the world. Customers are in excess of 500 million and in excess of 740 million is the number of accounts. The report merger has been completed and it is about 700 consolidated reports. The treasury dealing room has been completely merged and operating as one. This has also seen integration of our web channels. Anyone with their old ID and password can use the website seamlessly. Loan origination will be the same from day one. Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) stands fully merged not only at report level, but also at data level.
On the last day of the financial year, we handled 135 million transactions, 20% more than 100 million handled the last day of last year. Of the 135 million, 84% was through e-channels. At the peak, the system handled 1.75 lakh tellers, 45,000 internet banking users and 18,000 mobile users logged on simultaneously. The new peak transaction per second is 4,000 and the system can handle 15,000 transactions per second.
System was handled back to operations quickly and the merger related blackout of e-channels lasted only 3 hours as opposed to expectations of 5 hours. Audits will now take place till April 24 and the data mergers will take place after that over the weekends, one by one, till May 27 with a blackout period of three hours.
What can we expect from SBI now?
We are quickly digitising our processes and customer relationship management. You will see a much more globalised SBI very shortly. Customers can expect to get more quality and even personalised services. The people who fear that because we have become too big and lose sight of the customer, but today with technology we can address you by name and give you what you require as we understand what you want from the analytics that go behind your operations. By July 2018, you will have a totally customised look and feel of every channel that you operate in, not just digital channels but also at the branch level.
How many people will you let go of under the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and how many will be hired?
About 2,800 people have so far opted for VRS. If they are eligible, then all will be let go. We don’t have any discretion in the matter. In respect at this point of time is not going to happen immediately because we have to first understand what is that we need. How many people will actually leave and only then there is a question of hiring. We just completed hiring last year. the probationary officers hiring will go on but mass scale hiring of clerical employees, we just completed about 12,000 last year. About 12,500 were eligible to get the VRS.
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How will branches be reorganised?
There were five different headquarters. But, now we have created only two additional local head offices – one in Jaipur and one for Andhra. 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. In the past also, State Bank and associates taken together, we were opening about 700 to 800 branches. We now have about 24,000 branches and maybe, in the next two-three years, this number will not go up. Rationalisation will start in the second quarter.
What will the impact on asset quality be?
We have undertaken ourselves an AQR in respect of all the common accounts. This is not something that has been mandated by the Reserve Bank of India and for that, we have created `8,600 crore of additional provisions for those accounts. To that extent, we are well positioned for taking the merged book forward.