Bank employees hold protest march in Delhi

New Delhi, Sep 15 Members from various bank associations, including the All India Bank Employees Association, held a protest march here on Friday opposing the government's new banking policies. The march began from the Ram Leela Grounds and culminated in a public rally opposite the state-run State Bank of India branch opposite Parliament House. The protest was held against the government's decisions such as merger of banks, privatisation of public sector banks and write-off of corporate bad loans. Functioning of banks was not affected. The agitation took place under the umbrella of the United Forum of Bank Unions and included members from the National Confederation of Bank Employees, All India Bank Officers Confederation and All India Bank Officers Association among others. According to United Forum of Bank Unions, the government's decision to merge banks is not in public favour. "What is the need for merger of banks? Instead, there is a need to further strengthen our public sector banks and open more and more branches to serve the people," Sanjeev K. Bandlish, Convenor of United Forum of Bank Unions, told reporters here. The unions submitted a memorandum to the Finance Minister pointing out that banks are saddled with stressed assets which have hampered their earnings. Gross non-performing assets of banks have risen to Rs 8.29 lakh crore by the end of the first quarter of the current financial year.