Public sector lender Punjab National Bank (PNB), which has set its sights on the South and West for expansion, will open about 500 branches and add about 4,000 jobs during the current fiscal, said its MD and CEO Ch. S.S. Mallikarjuna Rao.

“We have completed the business and human integration of United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce with the PNB,” said Mr. Rao. “IT migration will happen by December and February 2021 respectively,” he added.

The bank, which currently operates 11,000 branches predominantly in the North and East, plans to expand in the South and West. Initially, the bank plans to open about 500 branches during FY21.

“The merger will lead to high incidence of rationalisation of branches,” Mr. Rao said. “If there are two branches within 500 metres, we will club them together and then use the licence to open a new branch in the South or in the West. That way, we hope to open 500 branches and will be writing to the RBI.”

By November 15, PNB will be adding almost 4,000 employees to its payroll with 990 of them absorbed in the officer cadre.

On loss-making branches, Mr. Rao said they would number about 350 and the bank was finding ways to reduce their count through innovative marketing of services or introduction of region-specific products.

Noting that the bank’s financial performance was muted in the first half due to COVID-19, he said the lender expected the economy to pick up in the second half.

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