New Delhi: In what is seen as the government's efforts to make public-sector banks financially viable and save the operational costs, the union finance ministry has direced the banks to shut their loss making overseas and domestic branches, and reduce the number of regional and administrative centres.
The National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) in a statement released on Tuesday however opposed the decision of the ministry while saying that the decision to close overseas branches in the country is understandable, but the decision to close bank branches within the country is not welcome.
“Public sector banks are implementing government schemes (distribution of public money, distribution of subsidy for government schemes, Atal Pension Scheme, Prime Minister Pension Scheme, Startup and Currency Loans, D. R.I. Loan and now the work of Adhar) and recovery of N.P.A.
"Actually, Banks are not able to do banking (because of these extra burden). The government should first decide whether the public sector banks are for the public service or for making profits", the bank workers' body said.
Urging the government to withdraw its decision, the NOBW, an Industrial Federation of Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, asked the government what will happen to account holders of these branches and what will happen to bank employees who are working in these branches?
How much impact the NOBW appeal will have on the government is yet to be seen as it believes that there is no point in running the loss making branches and putting an extra burden on the balance sheet, so banks should not just analyse its bigger savings but also lay emphasis on small savings like these for improving overall efficiency, said an official from Ministry of Finance.
The country’s largest bank SBI has 195 foreign offices spread across 36 countries whereas Bank of Baroda has presence across 24 countries through 107 branches/offices. It has 59 branches in 15 countries, while 47 branches operate through it’s eight overseas subsidiaries.