Money & Banking

Bank of Maharashtra staff unions seek clarity from FM on privatisation

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 10, 2020

The letter said a clarification from the Finance Minister will assure customers and more particularly depositors of the bank

Two Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) employee unions have written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking clarification on the Government’s position regarding privatisation of BoM and three other public sector banks (PSBs).

The unions – the All India BoM Employees Federation (AIBOMEF) and BoM Officers Association (BOMOA), underscored that reports about the privatisation of four PSBs — BoM, UCO Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Punjab & Sind Bank — is creating uncertainty in the minds of employees and customers of their Bank.

“The customers are raising questions across the counters of the bank since they are scared about the safety of their money in the backdrop of the recent developments in Yes Bank...

“...The developments in urban co-operative banks like Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank, which has been under RBI Directions for nearly a year and depositors are unable to draw their hard-earned money, are frightening,” said Devidas Tuljapurkar, General Secretary, AIBOMEF, and Ramesh N Patil, Chairman, BOMOA, in a joint statement.

A clarification from the Finance Minister will assure customers and more particularly depositors of the bank, giving them confidence on the safety of their deposits, the statement said.

The Unions emphasised that BoM has booked an impressive profit of ₹389 crore for the year 2020 when many of the bigger banks are struggling. This proves that banking for the common man is creditworthy and profitable by maintaining equilibrium in accounting profits and social profits, they added.

BoM is the Lead Bank for Maharashtra. It has a network of about 1,125 branches (of which 462 are in rural areas) in the State. The bank is also the sponsor bank of “Maharashtra Gramin Bank”, which has a network of about 412 branches, of which 335 are in the backward areas like Marathwada.

“Today when the economy is passing through uncertainty on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, further uncertainty on account of privatisation of BoM will lead to uncertainties in the financial sector and the situation will further aggravate. This is unaffordable for...the economy of the state which as of today stands first on various parameters of development in the country. BoM is known to be the bank of common man...and figures in top 2 (banks) in terms of cheap current and savings bank deposits, which is its strength,” Tuljapurkar and Patil said.

Losing its existence or its public-sector character may have an adverse impact not only on BoM but also on the economy of the State, they cautioned.

Hence, the unions have also written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar, President, Nationalist Congress Party, and Members of Parliament from Maharashtra to urge the Central Government and more particularly the Finance Minister to clarify their stand on maintaining the identity and public sector character of BoM in the interest of this Bank, economy of the State and nation, the statement said.

Published on September 10, 2020

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