SBI merger may not be painless for associate banks' clients

State Bank of India (SBI) is hoping to complete its merger with five associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) in the next three months.

While this will create a banking behemoth with Rs37 lakh crore in asset base, 22,500 branches, 58,000 ATMs and 50 crore customers, the transition from the individual associate banks to SBI might not be pain-free for customers, DNA reports.

The banks would start the merger process from 1 April, and from that date, the customers of the five associate banks - State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, and State Bank of Patiala - will not be able to access their old online banking services.

To access or make any online transactions, they will all have to use SBI's online banking services, i.e. onlinesbi.com.

However, the old username and password will be valid to access online banking through SBI. Even all the third-party accounts added as beneficiaries to one's account, and scheduled bill payments, would remain unchanged in the account accessed through OnlineSBI.

However, NEFT and RTGS charges would be applicable according to SBI's levies. There are certain associate banks that levy lower charges but after the merger, the customers of those banks will have to pay in line with SBI's charges, which may be higher.

While the IFSC code will remain unchanged for now, it may change after July.

All the customers of the banks would also be issued fresh cheque books and passbooks.

While the fixed deposit products offered by the associate banks remain unchanged right now, once the merger is over, customers will be able to pick from SBI's product portfolio.

The banks are also expected to shut about 1,500 to 1,600 branches, which may cause inconvenience for all the account holders of those branches.