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IT and HR synergy are key challenges for PNB-OBC-UBI merger

KOLKATA: Integration of technology platform will remain the key challenge for the merger of Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India, senior executives of these banks said, even as the government has selected the merger partners on the basis of their IT compatibilities rather than geographical synergy.

Harmonising human resource issues will be another key aspect of these mergers, as was seen in the past.

“Asymmetrical entities are coming together, so there is bound to be some challenges” Ashok Kumar Pradhan, chief executive of UBI said Saturday, at an interactive meeting between the three banks and their customers held in Kolkata.

PNB, OBC and UBI use Infosys’ Financle software for their core banking solutions, while Allahabad Bank and Indian Bank are on TCS’ BaNCS software, prompting the government to stitch these alliances for a smoother transition.

Similarly, Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank are on the same iFlex platform. Union Bank of India, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank are again on the Finance platform.

UBI and OBC use Finance-7 while PNB uses Financle-10. So, UBI and OBC need to upgrade their software solutions to have a seamless integration.

On the HR issues, Pradhan said that best available benefits from three banks will be passed on to employees. “There will not be any retrenchment or voluntary retirement scheme,” he said.

These banks have formed as many as 23 committees covering every aspect of banking merger such as IT, HR, product offerings etc to make the exercise less painful.

Chief executives of all the 10 public sector banks, which are selected as merger candidates, had a meeting at Bank of Baroda headquarters in Mumbai on September 4 to get a lowdown on merger experiences. “Bank of Baroda has given us a template on merger and the likely challenges in this exercise. It was a great learning,” UBI’s Pradhan said.

PNB board has already approved the merger while the UBI and OBC will consider it at their respective board meetings — both scheduled on September 18.

The merger is expected to take shape from April 1, 2020. Consequent upon this, the merged entity will become the convenor of state level bankers’ committee in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Tripura and West Bengal, and union territories of Delhi and Chandigarh.

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