State-run Dena, Vijaya and BOB to merge and form country’s third largest bank

New Delhi: Three state-run banks – Dena Bank, Vijaya Bank and Bank of Baroda – will merge together to become the third-largest bank in the country, the government said on Monday, as part of efforts to clean up the country’s banking system.

The government will continue to provide capital support to the merged entity. As India’s banking sector grapples with Rs 8.99 lakh crore worth non-performing assets or NPAs, the announcement was made by Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar during a press conference with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The proposal will be sent to the boards of the three banks, which need to approve it, before any further process, said Rajiv Kumar. He added that the sector needs reforms and the government is taking care of the banks’ capital needs.

The process of amalgamation is expected to complete by the end of this financial year, but the three banks will continue to function independently till the merger.

Rationalisation of overseas operation in banking sector is in full swing, Kumar said, adding the government is keen to take steps so that history isn’t repeated as far as NPAs are concerned.

Speaking on the merger, Arun Jaitley said that bank lending was becoming weak, hurting corporate sector investments. The government had announced in the budget that consolidation of banks was also in its agenda and the first step has been announced, he added.

“No employee will face any service conditions which are adverse in nature. The best of the service conditions will apply to all of them,” Jaitley said.

Currently, State Bank of India, and private sector peers HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank are the three largest banks in the country.

Five associates and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank became part of the State Bank of India (SBI) in April last year, which helped the country’s largest lender increase its scale and cut expenses through synergy of operations.

(With inputs from Agencies)