Chennai: The All India State Bank of India Staff Federation (AISBISF), the largest staff union in the State Bank of India (SBI), has welcomed the bank's decision to hire over 9,600 freshers as Junior Associates for Customer Support and Sales.

The proposed recruitment includes backlog vacancies numbering 1,101 under the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Communities. The recruitment will be largely in the officers cadre and not in the clerical cadre.

"Post merger of the associate banks the number of branches is around 22,000. There was a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) implemented at the associate banks prior to the merger. The business is increasing and there is a need for more staff," Sanjeev Kumar Bandlish, General Secretary of AISBISF, told IANS.

Bandlish is also the General Secretary of the National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE).

He said people are needed at the branch level to sell financial products like mutual funds and insurance to increase the bank's business and also the customer base.

During the first half of the current fiscal, 798 employees joined the bank while 11,382 employees retired from service.

The bank's total staff strength as on September 30, 2017 stood at 269,219 down from 279,803 on March 31, 2017.

According to Bandlish, the AISBISF has over 1.6 lakh members in SBI and with the proposed fresh recruitment, the union is confident of enrolling the majority of them as its members.