In its fifth acquisition in two years, Saraswat Cooperative Bank has acquired the troubled Nashik Peoples Cooperative Bank that ran into financial woes five years ago. Nashik Peoples Bank, with 14 branches and Rs 124 crore in deposits, will merge into Saraswat Bank from December 21 and all the necessary approvals have been obtained.
Saraswat had earlier acquired Maratha Mandir Co-op Bank, Mandvi Co-op Bank, Annasaheb Karale Janata Sahakari Bank and Murgharajendra Sahakari Bank.
“Several depositors of the Nashik Peoples Bank were in distress for the past 5-6 years. The state government had appointed an administrator to address the situation. Then we stepped in and signed an MoU for the merger in June 2007,” said Eknath Thakur, director, Saraswat Coop Bank.
Thakur told Hindustan Times that Saraswat Bank is in the process of acquiring a few more troubled co-operative banks in the coming months.
“The bank had an accumulated loss of Rs 40 crore and NPAs of Rs 50 crore. We have taken over all the assets and liabilities. The depositors will now have complete freedom to operate their accounts as sufficient money has been made available,” he added
Established in 1923, the Nashik Peoples Bank has 1,30,478 deposit accounts and 165 employees, some of whom facing corruption changes would be asked to resign, while the others are being trained to integrate into the Saraswat network.
With this merger, Saraswat Bank, established in 1918, would have 141 branches in the five states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Gujrat and Madhya Pradesh and its total business would be around Rs 17,000 crore with a staff strength of 2,727.