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Wednesday, Nov 06, 2002

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PNB-Nedungadi merger likely before February

C.J. Punnathara

KOCHI, Nov. 5

THE final merger between the Kozhikode-based Nedungadi bank and the Delhi-based Punjab National Bank is likely to materialise before February, when the current moratorium imposed on Nedungadi Bank ends, senior sources in the bank, said.

Though the current moratorium imposed on Nedungadi Bank has restrained withdrawals and caused some amount of heartburn among the customers, the overall response has been muted, the sources added.

However, some of the customers said that the Reserve Bank of India should have announced the moratorium along with a proper roadmap for the merger scheme. This would have put to rest all the apprehensions in the minds of the customers.

"It is in the interest of the customers that the apex bank has imposed the limits on withdrawals and most of the customers have begun to understand this reality'' Mr J.R. Prabhu, Chairman of the bank, told Business Line.

He said that there are certain procedures to be followed before the final merger of the two banks can be announced. First, the director boards of the respective banks have to approve the merger proposal. Then there is a stipulated period during which complaints from the public have to be heard.

It is only after these two procedures are through that the Government of India can announce the merger with the concurrence of the RBI, sources in the bank said. This takes time and hence it would not have been possible for the apex bank to announce merger scheme along with the moratorium at the same time, they added.

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