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Associate merger in six months on Government clearance
June, 16th 2009

Merger of State Bank of India's six associates with itself could be completed within six months once the Union Government extends approval for the process, SBI Chairman O P Bhatt said.

"Once we get the signal (from the government), the process will not take more than three to six months...we have taken initiative on our own for the merger," Bhatt told reporters here today.

Discarding the allegations that associate merger will lead to retrenchments in State Bank, Bhatt said the process will not cause any lay offs.

The merger will not result in any dip in the credit flow from State Bank to needy segments such as infrastructure, health, power, education and housing, Bhatt said.

"The bank is taking steps to increase its advances to these sectors," he said.

Noting that consolidation is necessary in the banking system, Bhatt said by way consolidation within the State Bank Group, the lender is aiming to become one of the top players in the global financial services industry.

"With larger balance sheets and good risks management, banks can fund larger deals, promote financial inclusion," he said.

Bhatt was addressing a meeting of industrialists under the aegis of CII (confederation of Indian industries).

SBI has plans to take its total number of ATMs to around 25,000 by the end of this fiscal, he said.

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