State Bank of India home loans to women
State Bank of India approved the merger of associate banks and Bhartiya Mahila Bank, with itself at a meeting of its board of directors. In Picture:Birds fly past the headquarters of State Bank of India in Mumbai, India, March 9, 2016 (representational image).Reuters File

As many as 50,000 State Bank of India (SBI) associate banks' employees went on strike on Friday to protest against the proposed merger with the parent bank. The associate bank employees are opposing the move under the banner of the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA).

The employees were expected to stage protests at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Friday.

The five associate banks are State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore, Press Trust of India reports.

"We are protesting against the plan of SBI management to merge five large associate banks into it," PTI quoted the union's statement as saying.

SBI's Board of Directors on Tuesday examined the possibility of acquiring the associate banks, which would also include their assets and liabilities. In addition, the senior management also suggested acquiring the first "women-oriented Bhartiya Mahila Bank" along with it, PTI said.

SBI has now sought the government's approval for the plan.

"This discussion is purely exploratory at this stage and not certain. A proposal seeking an in-principle approval to start negotiations with associated banks will be submitted to the central government," SBI was quoted by PTI as saying in a statement.

State Bank of India shares closed at Rs. 171.45 on Friday, down 0.84 percent from its previous close on the Bombay Stock Exchange. 

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