Money & Banking

Pall of gloom as Andhra Bank gets set for final foundation day

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on November 26, 2019

There is nostalgia and cautious optimism among the 20,000 employees of Andhra Bank as they gear up to celebrate the last foundation day of the bank on Thursday.

Andhra Bank, which almost became a household name among Telugus, was set up by eminent freedom fighter and Gandhian Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya. He also played a key role in the formation of Andhra Pradesh.

The bank was registered on November 20, 1923, and commenced business on November 28, 1923, with a paid-up capital of ₹1 lakh and authorised capital of ₹10 lakh.

Andhra Bank, along with Corporation Bank, will be amalgamated with Union Bank of India as the anchor bank from April 1, and the upcoming foundation day will be the last for the bank.

The board had already given its in-principle approval for the amalgamation, and the process has already started through various consultation groups.

“While the pros and cons of bank amalgamation is a matter of debate, the immediate fallout is the loss of Andhra Bank’s brand, which is associated with the freedom movement.

Many seniors like me are nostalgic as we have grown along with its brand for more than three decades,” a top executive told Business Line on Monday.

Good journey

The journey of Andhra Bank has been good till recent years when it came under the stress of bad loans like many other public sector banks. It was known for some interesting schemes such as ‘kiddy bank’, launched about two decades ago, to inculcate inculcating savings habit in children. Andhra Bank was the first to introduce credit cards in the country, which was replicated by other banks. However, it lost the race later, thanks to aggressive marketing strategies of private banks as well as bigger players in the public sector. As on September 30, 2019, it had a total business of ₹3,95,068 crore, with 2,876 branches and a total delivery channels of 6,678.

“Apart from nostalgia, we are geared up to face challenges professionally. We will continue to cherish the core principles of banking. I would have been happier if the bank is allowed to retain its name,” said a general manager with Andhra Bank.

According to sources, some exercise is already on to re-brand the combined entity, and a consultant is likely to be hired to come up with recommendations.

For obvious reasons, Andhra Bank has made the foundation day celebrations a simple affair, with a get-together of employees in the city. “We have been told to make it a simple affair,” said an official in charge of thearrangements.

“Many employees are very upset. Its a depressing moment for us, and we are in no mood to celebrate. Even customers are worried,” said T Ravindranath, Chairman, All-India Andhra Bank Award Employees Union.

Published on November 26, 2019

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