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Big Bang bank merger : Odisha may see closure of nearly 300 ATMs!

The ATMs per lakh adults in Odisha in 2019 stood at 19 against the national proportion of 20.76.

Bhubaneswar: The big bang consolidation of banks in public sector announced by Finance Minister N Sitharaman on Friday is likely to see shut down of nearly 300 ATMs in the State.

“The immediate goal of the mega merger of banks is to rationalise the operations and boost the capital base. Since one in two ATMs are located in the branches, the State could see closure of around 300 ATMs. Because, the six banks that are going to lose their brand nomenclature have 642 ATMs at present in the State,” a senior SLBC (State-Level Bankers Committee) official  observed.

As per the Union Government’s decision, as many as six public sector banks namely the Andhra Bank, Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), Syndicate bank and United bank of India will henceforth be merged with their four big counterparts.

While the total ATMs the six banks run in the State stood at 642,  Andhra Bank has the lion’s pie with 217 operational  ATMs. United Bank of India and Syndicate follow with 133 and 120 ATMs, respectively. The most technologically advanced small – size public sector bank, Corporation Bank, has 57 and OBC has 67 ATMs.

The branches of the six banks in Odisha stood at 558. And nearly 450 branches have ATMs on their premises. Top SLBC officials foresee most branch rationalisation in the case of Andhra Bank and United Bank of India. And bulk of ATMs of such banks will witness closure. Nearly, 65 branches of the six banks may have to shut down operations within a year post the merger, the official observed.

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As per SLBC data, the ATMs per lakh adults in Odisha in 2019 stood at 19 against the national proportion of 20.76. The country has now over 2.27 lakh ATMs. The national proportion in 2017 was 22.7. This statistics show dip in ATM proportion in the country.

The earlier mergers of SBI with its associates and Vijaya & Dena banks with Bank of Baroda played a crucial role in the fall in ATM proportion per lakh adults in the country this year.

Alongside the ATM rationalisation pinch, what the customers of the six banks have to keep in mind? And What the guidelines say? Read the following.

First and foremost is one has to know about their parent bank. For instance Andhra Bank is merged with Union Bank of India (UBI). So, UBI will be your parent or anchor bank.

1) Cheque book/ATM/Debit cards: As nomenclature of six banks will dissolve from April 1 next year, existing customers of the banks will sooner be asked by the parent bank to issue new cheque books, ATM/debit cards from the financial 2020-21. An interim period will be announced  by the parent bank to ensure a hassle free switchover to the new regime.

2) Loan/FD/RD Account: The Terms and Conditions (T&C) of existing customers’ loan account and FDs (Fixed deposits) or RDs (Recurring deposits) accounts will continue. But any change in T&C for RDs or loan accounts will be intimated to customers beforehand.

3) Locker Facility: Prior to branch rationalisation, the parent bank will inform the existing customers to move out their locker facility to any other designated branch.

4) QAB (Quarterly Average balance): it should be your biggest watch out list. Enquire about the QAB from your banks. Not adhering to the QAB norm may draw penal charges on you.

The guidelines say prior to the merger, the six banks will effect some alteration in the minimum QAB. Because, QAB charges will surely see a change as the six banks have to align it with the norms prevailing in their respective parent banks.

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