Arundhati Bhattacharaya
Arundhati Bhattacharya is currently the Chair-managing director of the State Bank of India.Reuters File

The central government is presently deliberating giving an additional one-year-term extension to State Bank of India (SBI) chief Arundhati Bhattacharya whose three-year-term will end later this month.

The Bank Board Bureau has also submitted its views on the extension issue to the government and a decision is expected within the next few days. "There is a need for continuity at a time when the process of consolidation is still going on," sources were quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

Under the leadership of the 60-year old managing director of the state-owned lender, the efforts of merging SBI with six other banks may finally come through.

The completion of the merger would result in the formation of the largest bank in Asia. According to media reports, though her office-term is set to expire later this month, the government is considering extending her time so that she can see through the efforts (of consolidation of the banks).

Bhattacharya has been on an upward trajectory ever since she assumed office at India's largest bank. Bhattacharya, who was widely speculated to succeed Raghuram Rajan as next Reserve Bank of India governor, has continued "her high-profile battle with the bank's bad loans, while courting overseas partners to invest in stressed assets," Forbes reported last week.

Earlier this year, the union cabinet gave its approval for the merger of the State Bank of India with five other associate banks namely: State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Hyderabad.

Post the merger, the SBI would have an asset base of about Rs. 37 lakh crore or over $55 billion. It would also have 22,500 branches and 58,000 ATMs. Additionally, it would also have a base of 50 crore customers, PTI added.

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