All banks will remain closed on April 1, says RBI

RBI had earlier asked all banks to keep all their branches dealing with government business open on all days in the current financial year and on April 1

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday said banks need not remain open on April 1, as against its earlier order, because it may affect the annual closing, especially in view of the State Bank of India (SBI) merger.

“In consultation with the government, it has been decided that while the agency banks are to keep all their branches dealing with government business open on all days in the current financial year (including Saturday, Sunday and all holidays) as already advised, these branches need not be kept open on April 1,” the RBI said in a statement here.

“It has been represented that the opening of bank branches on April 1, may disrupt the annual closing, especially in view of merger of some banks taking effect from that date,” the statement said.

SBI merger with its five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank will come into effect from April 1.

On March 24, RBI had asked all agency banks, including public sector banks and some private banks, to keep all their branches dealing with government business open on all days in the current financial year and on April 1.

SBI which would start merger process of five associates and Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) from April 1, expects integration to be completed in three months. “SBI has sought three-month time from RBI for merger. It should be done by that timeframe,” SBI managing director (national banking group) Rajnish Kumar had earlier said.

“The merger has to be done in phases. As data are integrated, the new passbook and cheque books would be issued. The complete integration of various banks should take 3 months,” he said.

Post merger, he said about 1,500 branches to be shut because of duplication. “There are many duplication and they need to be rationalised. About 1,500-1,600 branches have to be rationalised. The closure could be of SBI or associate bank depending on location,” he said.

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