The oldest bank in the Telangana region, the State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), would now be called the State Bank of India (SBI) from today.
SBH, whose origin dates back to seventy-five years, was set up to manage the currency of Nizams.
SBH, set up as Hyderabad State Bank on August 8,1941, under the Hyderabad State Bank Act, 1941, during the reign of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan. The bank managed Nizam’s currency - the Osmania Sikka, public debt and commercial banking operations, in the then Hyderabad state.
SBH was also a contribution of the last Nizam, the architect of Modern Hyderabad. He developed railways, airlines, postal services, High Court, Osmania University, Osmania Hospital, reservoirs, irrigation projects and industry.
The SBH, comprised of present day Telangana, some districts later known as Hyderabad-Karnataka of Karnataka and Maharashtra (Marathwada).
SBH opened its first branch at Gunfoundry in Hyderabad, on April 5, 1942. Then, a decade later, SBH took over Hyderabad Mercantile Bank Limited. The Reserve Bank Of India (RBI), converted the bank into its subsidiary, before renaming it as SBH. The SBH became a subsidiary of SBI in 1959.
After the formation of Telangana in 2014, SBH was the lead bank of the newly formed state. The headquarters of SBH, at Gunfoundry, was an iconic building, and one the city’s landmarks. The total business of SBH, was Rs 2.60 lakh crore, as on December 30, 2016.
State Bank of Hyderabad Staff Association, President, S B Rajasekhar, said, “It is really sad for us to see SBH, sliding into obscurity.” We do not know, what can be achieved with this merger. In fact, SBH is more popular in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh than SBI.
The SBH had about 2,000 branches, with 19,000 employees, on its rolls.
SBH in the Telangana region, played a vital role in the development, of the former Karimnagar district on the agricultural and industrial fronts, and also economic empowerment of women, through self-help groups.
The SBH would be merged with the SBI. SBI would not only become the lead district bank, but also the Treasury bank for all the government departments.
SBI would also maintain the currency chest, and meet the currency shortage requirements of other banks.
A bank official said, only the name of SBH, would change to SBI, and nothing else. All the duties done by the SBH would now be performed by the SBI. The SBI also holds responsibility in preparing the Annual Credit Plan of the Karimnagar district.
SBI would also conduct the joint Mandal-level meetings for the establishment of government welfare schemes, he said.
The names of SBH, would be replaced with SBI in a phased manner, to avoid confusion among the customers.
Employees union leader Bhagavanth Reddy said that they fought against the merger, but failed. The merger will affect the employees of SBH.
“Our salaries are two increments, lower than the SBI staff and we wish the new management would provide equal salaries,” he said.
Last year, in May, SBI unveiled its plans to merge five associate banks, including SBH with itself, saying the move will help it emerge as a global banking giant. The other associate banks are State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Travancore, and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur.
Staffers and passersby, clicked selfies for one last time with the SBH head office building still sporting the SBH name in the backdrop. The SBH staff also bid an adieu by lighting candles on the bank premises.
A senior SBH official assured, “all the SBH branches will sport the new name from today, but the actual process of the merger will take around 3-6 months to be completed.”