Thiruvananthapuram: From April 1, the State Bank of Travancore has been merged with the State Bank of India catapulting the latter into the list of the world's 50 largest banks. The merger will give SBI an unparalleled 1360 branches in Kerala with a staff strength of 16,000 making it the biggest in Kerala.

The merger of SBI with five associate banks, including the State Bank of Bikaner, the State Bank of Mysore, the State Bank of Hyderabad and the State Bank of Patiala, has now made SBI the largest bank in India. The 1945 born SBT is merging with its parent bank after 72 years. With this, the only public sector bank headquartered in Kerala will be lost to the state. The state government that was initially opposed to the merger has been reassured all support by Venkitaraman, Chief General Manager and Alok Kumar Sharma and K N Naik, both General Managers with SBI, who visited the Chief Minister.

Till April 23, the account holders can use their existing account numbers and passbooks for transactions with both the banks. After this, the software will merge combining the accounts on the same name into a single entity.  

In the meanwhile, SBI has implemented fines and charges for its account holders. The account holders in the metros must maintain Rs. 5000 as minimum balance. Those in the cities must have Rs. 3000 and those in villages must have Rs. 1000 or else will be fined anywhere between Rs. 20-100. There will be charges on ATM transactions beyond a particular point too. The erstwhile SBT accounts will also face these new restrictions once they migrate.

As of now no SBT branches will be shut down or staff laid off. Three hundred staff belonging to the SBT network has applied for the VRS scheme declared.