Not the right time to merge arms, says SBI

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2015 23:56 IST

It may not be the right time to merge subsidiaries and instead there is a need to focus on new challenges such as payments banks and rapid rollout of digital services, State Bank of India chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said on Tuesday.

“We believe that these partners are doing quite well on their own...being local banks, they’re considered more close to local populations and we’d like them to be very strong entities in their own right. At some point of time, yes we’ll merge. But I don’t think this is the right time,” Bhattacharya said after launching the bank’s mobile wallet SBI Buddy with finance minister Arun Jaitley.

“The SBI group was already valued as one and even if the five associate banks were merged, the group balance sheet wouldn’t change,” she said adding that greater efficiencies could be achieved even without the merger. “Any rollout which happens in the bank is picked up by associate banks as quickly as possible. Overlaps of branches and ATMs, we’re working on actively to see that those overlaps are taken out,” she added.

Bhattacharya said the SBI group could add to the balance sheet by acquiring another bank. However, she refused to elaborate. She also declined to comment on reports on plans of merger with the Bharatiya Mahila Bank.

SBI Buddy can be downloaded from the Android play store and will also be available on Apple’s IOS platform later.

The app can also be used those who do not have a SBI bank account. The app provides services such as money transfers to registered users, payment of bills, and booking movie tickets and flights among other things.

Jaitley on Tuesday also unveiled the brand logo and website of SBI Foundation, an arm set up under the Company Act to drive the bank’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

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