2,800 employees of SBI's associate banks opt for VRS

About 2,800 employees of the erstwhile associate banks of State Bank of India have opted for voluntary retirement post-merger, while another 9,700 more are eligible for voluntary retirement.

The five associate banks of SBI had a total employee strength of 70,000, of which 12,500 were eligible for opting for voluntary retirement, according to SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya.

''Employees who have opted for VRS at present are around 2,800. And definitely, we will look at their application and if it falls within the norms we will give them VRS,'' said Bhattacharya.

SBI had announced the VRS option for employees of the five associate banks ahead of the merger process. This has been done to provide an opportunity to such employees who may genuinely want to retire voluntarily on account of uncertainties related to possible relocation and change of job profile, post-acquisition'.

The five associate banks include State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, and State Bank of Travancore.

The VRS is open to all permanent award staff and officers of the subsidiary banks (except those specifically mentioned as 'ineligible') who have put in 20 years of service or have completed 55 years of age as of 30 November 2016. The scheme closes on 5 April 2017.

Bhattacharya said, ''Last time when we had done the merger, we saw that there were a few people who wanted to opt out. And, therefore, this time we wanted to give this channel for people who really feel that they would rather do something different.

''There is no force in the matter at all. It is totally their call. And if they have taken it then we fully respect it.''

''We don't have any discretion in the matter. If people apply and they are eligible, then we will have to let them go,'' she said.

Meanwhile, SBI had opened a portal in which employees can give options regarding transfers, Bhattacharya said, adding, ''We had almost 150 people opting to go to the North-East, which is great for us because that is an area where we would like to put more people into.''

''Almost 15,000 people from among associate banks have given their transfer options and it will be our endeavour to try and ensure that we are able to keep those requests. We will do it to the extent possible,'' she said.

The SBI chief emphasised that whatever movements are going to occur, will take place in a very systematic and well-thought-out manner.

''We are also trying to take this chance of trying to honour transfer requests from our own employees also. So, we are doing a kind of a clearing house for our own employees also,'' she added.