Banks closed for five days in a row later this month? Services to be hit

FE Online
Bank

Bank services will be hit later this month, for as much as five days in a row in the case of PSU banks from September 26 to September 30. Trade unions have announced a two-day nationwide strike beginning Thursday, September 26. To make things worse for bank customers, the strike is followed by two-day holidays on account of second Saturday and Sunday. The four-day break is likely to affect bank operations such as cash deposit, salary credit for employees and cash transfers, resulting in hardships for customers who need to plan their transactions during the period.

Also, while Monday, September 30 is not an RBI-declared bank holiday, it is the day of half-yearly closing, and public dealing might be severely restricted, or non-available. Further, October 2 is a national holiday on account of Gandhi Jayanti.

The unions are protesting for fear of job loss following the PSU mergers. The State Bank of India said if the unions go ahead with the strike, banking operations are likely to be affected. "While the bank has made all arrangements to ensure normal functioning in its branches and offices, it is likely that work in our bank may be impacted to some extent by the strike," SBI said in a regulatory filing.

Following Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's announcement of merging 10 state-run lenders into four entities, four public sector bank unions have announced the two-day strike in protest. All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA), Indian National Bank Officers’ Congress (INBOC) and National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO) — have together called the pan-India strike on September 26 and 27, the Indian Banks’ Association informed SBI.

On 30th August, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced big consolidation exercise in the banking space and merged 10 PSBs to form four entities. Earlier, the government had brought the number down to 12 from 19 in 2017. After the consolidation exercise, Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India will become one entity; Union Bank of India will amalgamate with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank; Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank will combine; and Indian Bank will merge with Allahabad Bank.