Steps that customers need to take when banks merge

Recently, FM announced a slew of PSU bank mergers wherein 10 banks were virtually merged into 4 banks. What do you do if you are an account holder in such banks?

September 27, 2019 1:59 IST | India Infoline News Service
When Global Trust Bank (GTB) was merged into Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) in 2004, depositors were happy that their money was safe. However, some depositors rued that OBC being a PSU bank would not match up to the customer service standards of a private bank like GTB. In the last few years, there has been a spate of mergers among PSU banks, apart from ING Vysya Bank being subsumed into Kotak Bank. Recently, FM announced a slew of PSU bank mergers wherein 10 banks were virtually merged into 4 banks. What do you do if you are an account holder in such banks?
Take a call whether you want to continue with the bank or not
That is the primary decision you need to take. For example, many customers are happy with the personal touch of smaller banks and they may not be comfortable with the impersonal approach of a larger bank. Also, the customer may not be comfortable with the risk appetite of the new bank. In such cases, you can opt to close you account and shift to another bank.
Download a status report ahead of the merger
Normally, we don’t just deposit money in a bank but have multiple relationships. For example, you have a credit card and also prefer to keep your FDs and gold deposits with the same bank. Your home loan or car loan may also be with the same bank and the bank may also be marketing investment products to you. As soon as the merger is announced, get a complete status report of all your relationships with the outstanding amounts, balances, tenure etc so that you can verify at a later date when the merger is completed. Once the merger is completed, use this to cross verify.
Once the merger is completed, your bank details will change
In case you have an account with the merged bank, then you will get a new account number, IFSC and SWIFT codes. In case you have accounts with both the banks, then you can ask the account in the merged bank to be subsumed into the merging bank. This makes your task a lot simpler. Ensure that your email id, current residential address and mobile number details are properly updated in the new bank account so that alerts can be managed seamlessly.
You need to change the bank mandate for investments
This is an important step, both in case of SIPs and in case of your demat account and trading account. In such cases, you will have to make an application to change the bank mandate with the DP, broker, and mutual fund registrar so that the new details are updated and all debits and credits can happen seamlessly. Also, remember to update your tax filing records with the new bank details, otherwise, the refund credits may be returned due to wrong bank mandate.
Get familiar with the new internet banking interface
Activate your internet banking account with the new user name and password. In case you have been using the mobile app for banking, then you need to uninstall the old app and install the app of the new bank. In both the cases, you must familiarize with the nuances of the bank interface and get familiar by executing small transactions. In case, your old bank account was mapped to your investments, trading account and DP account, then you need to re-map the new bank account at all these places with appropriate proof in the form of cancelled cheque.
Adjust yourself to the new ecosystem
When the bank changes, it is not just the account number but the entire ecosystem undergoes a change. You have to deal with new front office staff and a new call centre. A new RM will be mapped to you. Above all, the ATM kiosk network you are familiar with may not work any longer as rationalization would have resulted in lesser number of ATMs. You need to adapt yourself to this new ecosystem. 

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