Kolkata : The merger of the State Bank of India (SBI) and the State Bank of Saurashtra (SBS) is awaiting the final approval from the finance ministry, SBI chairman O.P. Bhatt has said.
“As soon as we get the approval from the union ministry, we will proceed with the process. We are expecting to get the green signal from the ministry in May this year,” Bhatt told reporters here Friday while presenting the annual report of the bank.
He said: “If the merger goes well and everything settles down the SBI will go for more mergers with associate banks by March 2009.”
Explaining the present status of the SBI-SBS merger, Bhatt said already SBI has received a good response from the employees of the SBS.
According to him, SBI is projecting 25 percent growth in advances and is also eyeing 25 percent growth in its overseas operation in the next financial year.
“Last year SBI’s overseas operation was seven percent and this year it grew to nearly 11 percent,” Bhatt said.
Bhatt added that the SBI has got a sanction to open 25 branches in Singapore but it was now opening about seven branches there this year. This apart, SBI also has plans to open one branch each in the US, Hong Kong and Male in the current fiscal.
“We have to take a decision on which business would suit the bank. The exercise is on. But we have to decide whether we will expand geographically or in a particular nation,” the chairman said.
Bhatt said the SBI and GE Money would jointly go for a restructuring of its credit card business in 2008-09.
SBI Cards is a joint venture between SBI and GE Money.
“We are also inducting a number of SBI officials to look after the credit card business,” he said.