Ahead of merger, public sector banks advance promotions and transfers

Illustration by Binay Sinha
Ahead of merger, public sector banks who are slated to be merged have advanced the promotions and transfers exercise to the present financial year. Normally public sector banks undertake the exercise in the beginning of financial year.

According to sources, promotions and transfers till scale four at officers’ level for the financial year 2020-21 is being decided by individual banks. Thus for the next financial year, even after the merger, no major changes in terms of transfers and promotions are likely to take place for the merged entity up to a scale four or chief manager. However, beyond scale four, transfers might take place on the basis of need, according to a senior official of a public sector banks.

Notably, in the last two years there has been hardly any recruitment in public sector banks. As a result, there will not be any need for voluntary retirement scheme.

Banks like United Bank of India and Allahabad Bank have already initiated the process of promotions and transfers. The banks are using automated assessment system to decide on promotions.  For example, in case of United Bank of India, performance would be measured in terms of meeting lending targets, recovery and expense management among other things. The system will also have a process of referral and review by peers, juniors and seniors for objective assessment.

According to Ashok Kumar Pradhan, managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of United Bank of India, a functional committee on HR integration is likely to finalise the modalities of the merger by the end of this financial year.

Under the mega merger plan by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, 10 public sector banks would be consolidated into four. Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India will combine to form the nation’s second-largest lender; Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank will merge; Union Bank of India will amalgamate with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank; and Indian Bank will merge with Allahabad Bank.

The consolidation exercise will bring down the number of nationalised public sector banks to 12 from 27 in 2017.

According to data from Reserve Bank of India, as on 31st March 2018, the total number of officers in public sector banks was around 200,000.  

Apart from human resources, IT is another challenge in the merger process, say bankers. While the merger of balance sheets may be achievable by April 1, 2020, IT integration could take more than a year after the formal merger notification, according to the public sector banks.

However, at the clerical level, there is still lack of clarity among employees in terms of transfers, said Rajen Nagar, President of AIBEA (All India Bank Employees' Association).

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