Support Bank Strike against Mergers and Bank Charges

For Immediate Release

Support Bank Strike against Mergers and Bank Charges

September 23, 2019: Financial Accountability Network, India stands in solidarity with the strikes and protest actions announced by the bank officers and employee unions. Four officers’ unions All India Bank Officer’s Confederation (AIBOC), the All India Bank Officer’s Association (AIBOA), the Indian National Bank Officer’s Congress (INBOC) and the National Organization of Bank Officers (NOBO) – have called for a strike on September 26th and 27th to protest against the merger of 10 state-run banks into four bigger banks, service charges imposed on the customers, demanding 5 working days a week, scrapping of the New Pension Scheme and other demands. Two Employees’ Unions – All India Bank Employee’s Association (AIBEA) and Bank Employee’s Federation of India (BEFI) have called for a series of protest action including an all India strike on the October 22nd.

Indian National Bank Employee’s Federation (INBEF) and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) have also come out supporting the strike call given by the Officer’s Union.

The unions have come out strongly against the merger of 10 banks into 4 and also demanded not to burden the people with service charges. Welcoming their position and standing in support, FAN, India reiterates that mergers are not the solution for the banking crisis but a blatant move towards privatization.

The idea that bank mergers would result in big global banks is a fallacy, as even if all the banks are merged to form one bank its capital would be only close to $ 4 Billion while the global big banks have a capital of over $ 70 to 80 Billion. Hence, mergers are not for the benefits of banks or to increase the volume of credit (more number of loans) but only to increase the size of the credit (large loans) given to the corporate sector. At a time when the banks are facing loss due to NPAs, this move would only further the crisis in the near future.

Further, bank charges now levied for each and every single transaction has only burdened the people and is also alienating them from the banks. The penalty collected for not maintaining minimum balance alone by PSBs and 4 Pvt banks is 14,000 Crore the same for extra ATM (more than 4 times) transactions is 4,144 Crore. The service charges are nothing but a way to cover the loss made by corporate bad loans. Looting the people for the loss made by corporates should immediately be stopped.

The bank unions have warned the government and RBI before too of its faulty policies in dealing with the NPA crisis. They had warned against restructuring and ever greening, the futility of IBC and resisted the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill (FRDI) but neither the government nor the RBI paid head to it. But today, RBI has discontinued all restructuring as they had only delayed the crisis without addressing it, IBC, after two years has only given minimum returns to the banks but has been a colossal drain of the banks’ resources in the haircuts and provisions. Similarly it was only after a strong push back from the people that the government withdrew the FRDI Bill. It would hence do good for the government to listen to unions and stop the mergers of the banks.

We call upon all progressive and democratic forces to stand by the strike. We further demand:

  1. To make wilful default criminal offence
  2. To put in place adequate due diligence for large scale loans
  3. To include social and environmental safeguard policies for the investments of banks
  4. Withdraw all bank charges on banking services

Additional Endorsements:

  1. Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA & CPI (ML) Liberation
  2. Ashok Chaudhary, All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP)
  3. Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
  4. Himanshu Upadhyaya, faculty, Azim Premji University
  5. Jammu Anand, National Hawker Federation
  6. Himanshu Takkar, South Asian Network for Dams, Rivers and People
  7. Sreedar, Environics Trust, New Delhi
  8. Ravindranath, River Basin Friends, Assam
  9. Leo Saldanha, Environment Social Group, Bengaluru
  10. Satish Kumar, Socialist Worker’s Centre
  11. Rajkumar Sinha, Bargi Bandh Vishapit Evam Parbhavit Sangh, Madhya Pradesh
  12. Mithilesh Dangi, Azaadi Bachao Andolan
  13. Senthil Babu, French Institute, Pondicherry
  14. Ram Wangkheirakpam, Indigenous Perspectives, Manipur
  15. Ashwathy Senan, The Research Collective, New Delhi
  16. Sher Bahadur, Dawa Manch
  17. Nisar Ahmad, Loktantra Bachao Abhiyan
  18. Sanjeev Danda, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM)
  19. Anoop Sharmik, Ridam
  20. Jagriti Rahi, Sajha Sanskriti Manch
  21. Kuldeep, Bhudelkhand Dalit Adhikar Manch
  22. Priya D., Centre for Financial Accountability, New Delhi
  23. Bharat Patel, Machimar Adhikaar Sangharsh Sangathan, Gujarat

For more information, please contact:
Ashish Kajla
+91 73032 10990
[email protected]

Priya Dharshini
+91 96546 80488

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