Companies & Sectors
Telecom slips on merger announcements, Idea sheds 10%
Mumbai, Telecom sector slipped, with Idea Cellular's stocks plunging by almost ten per cent on Monday -- a day of major merger announcements in the telecom space.
 
At closing, the scrip of the telecom major was down by 9.55 per cent to Rs 97.60 per share at the BSE, emerging as the worst loser of the day.
 
Overall, the S&P BSE telecom index, which opened at 1,268.30 points, closed at 1,251.19 -- down 13.99 points or 1.11 per cent.
 
Telecom giant Bharti Airtel remained a gainer, with its shares up 0.79 per cent to Rs 349.45 per scrip at the BSE. On the other hand, Reliance Communications was down by 0.26 per cent to Rs 38.15 per share.
 
In one of the biggest mergers in the telecom space, Vodafone India and Aditya Birla Group-promoted Idea Cellular announced the much-awaited amalgamation, following which Vodafone will hold 45.1 per cent in the combined company.
 
"The market did not take the news (of Idea Cellular merger with Vodafone India) well with Idea shares losing 10 per cent in value and closing the day at Rs 97.60. Analysts were unhappy with the structure of the deal as the joint entity will continue to have high debt levels," Vijay Singhania, Founder and Director of brokerage firm Trade Smart Online, told IANS.
 
"The merger is not witnessing any cash inflows from either companies. Besides, the deal price is around the current price of joint entity as reported in the exchange disclosure. This leaves little room for appreciation," Singhania noted.
 
In another announcement, Reliance Communications has received approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the proposed merger with Aircel.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Pre-merger, Is SBI Heading Towards bankruptcy?
Customers of State Bank of India (SBI), especially in south India, are forced to ask whether SBI is headed for bankruptcy as they find 99% of the automatic teller machines (ATMs) shut down and all branches declining withdrawals from the depositors’ savings account beyond a limit. Bank branches are refusing to honour cheques drawn on them, either their own or on third party, in spite of sufficient balance in the account. To top it, the bank’s branches refuse to give written objection for returning the cheque across the counter. 
 
In February, SBI, in a regulatory filing had stated, “…the entire undertaking of State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) shall stand transferred to and vested in the State Bank of India from 1 April 2017.”
 
What does the rule-book say? Is it because of systemic failure or management failure? Does the blame rest with the SBI, or with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as well, as it has been a silent spectator for the last 15 days? Just last week, when Bandaru Dattatreya, the Union Minister for Labour, approached the RBI’s office at  Hyderabad, the central bank said that it has pumped in Rs1,170 crore worth of currency into the system, with half of it in the ATMs of banks and the rest to the bank branches.
 
Section 5 (c) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 defines a banking company as any company that transacts ‘banking business’ in India. 
 
The Act clarifies, in clause (b) of the same section, that the expression ‘banking’ found in the definition should mean accepting, for the purpose of lending or investment, of deposits of money from the public, repayable on demand or otherwise, and withdrawable by cheques, drafts, order or otherwise. To constitute the business of banking today, the banker must also undertake to pay cheques drawn upon himself (the banker) by his customers in favour of third parties up to the amount standing to their credit in their ‘current accounts’, and to collect cheques for his customers and credit the proceeds to their current accounts. Lending by itself does not constitute banking business, clarifies ML Tannan.
 
A recall to all this became necessary, for the banks, even of the ilk of the SBI, seem to have forgotten the basics of banking. Yesterday I paid a carpenter for the work done at my house, by way of a ‘bearer’ cheque drawn on my savings bank account, Rs13,750, which was presented at the counter. The official at the counter and the accountant refused to pay the amount, saying that they can pay cash only up to Rs5,000 as they do not have enough cash. This is not a solitary instance. During the last fortnight, many customers faced this situation. Many members of the Resident Welfare Association, Kalyanapuri, Hyderabad, brought up this issue and demanded its resolution.
 
The payee asked for a written objection, which the bank officials refused to provide. The cheque was otherwise in order in all respects – with proper date, proper signature and adequate balance in the account.  The Negotiable Instrument Act requires that if a cheque or bill of exchange is returned, either on the counter or in clearing, an objection memo duly signed by the authorised official of the bank shall be provided with the relevant reason. 
 
In case a bank branch declines to honour a cheque, in writing, for want of cash in its vaults, it would amount to the bank being bankrupt. In the case of SBI, it is also the agent of Reserve Bank and operates the currency chest at a number of branches. Whenever a bank branch falls short of cash, SBI is supposed to make arrangements for providing the required funds. The transaction between the branches on such count can form the internal cash management of the bank. 
 
Contrary to this practice, if the bank chooses to tell its customers that since there are not enough deposits coming into its vault and it is therefore restricting payments to its customers, it amounts to sheer mismanagement. 
 
Since SBI is shutting ATMs and refusing to pay cash, either in full or in part, customers seem to have stopped depositing cash into their accounts and prefer to keep cash with themselves for meeting their requirements. This is a classic vicious circle. 
 
Whenever creditors’ demands are not met and assets do not support the liabilities of a bank, that bank is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy. But by statute, the SBI cannot go into liquidation at its will.   
 
Customers are losing faith in the bank with which they have been transacting for decades. Bad banking and good economy can never co-exist. Let not SBI declare bankruptcy ahead of its merger.
 
(Dr B Yerram Raju - is an economist and risk management specialist.)

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COMMENTS

T.c. Shivswamy

4 weeks ago

Will Ganeshji tell us about the past adventures of SBI? From the time of Indira's rule to its present day how it has fared in public memory.With the famous Nagarwalla case followed by Nambiar's tryst with Galatharis and its zooming NPAs and write offs and with the present cases of Mallya,Sahara and many more VIP borrowers what the common customer can expect? Those beneficieries of the clique will always defend these Nationalised,Government owned Banks fattened and subsidised with tax payers money without any accountability to the poor depositors.

GANESHKUMAR AP

4 weeks ago

Poor editorial judgement of Editors and blighted​ rant of writer gets highlighted. ML guard your credibility.

REPLY

Abhijit Gosavi

In Reply to GANESHKUMAR AP 4 weeks ago

This is an excellent article (not a rant) that won't appear in the mainstream media. There is nothing here that is *not* based on facts. So....I thank these wonderful Moneylife folks for doing their job and reporting the truth!

Gopalakrishnan T V

1 month ago

The fact of the matter is that banks these days have forgotten their duties and responsibilities to the Deposit customers and they are in a position to dictate as they are under the direct control of the Government and they do not seem to be accountable to the regulator Viz RBI. Demonetisation and its implementation related issues have emboldened the banks to take away their main responsibility of meeting the cash requirements of the depositors who are,morally, legally and statutorily entitled to. No doubt in the initial days of implementation of the demonetisation scheme, the public cooperated with the banks and the Government as they wholeheartedly welcomed the scheme by avoiding withdrawal of cash or tolerating the absence of cash in most of the ATMs of almost all the banks. But the public never imagined that the services in banks would deteriorate to rock bottom and the depositors would be dictated to withdraw their own funds. Over and above this, the banks have become greedy all of a sudden and want to enhance the charges partially to make up the losses they incur on account of NPAs and to exploit the weaknesses of the regulator to rein them appropriately as the Statute demands. Withdrawals against cheques and that too small amounts cannot be avoided by giant banks like SBI unless they have some other motives. SBI cannot be bankrupt is a worldly known fact but they do favour chosen customers and ignore those who do not matter is also a ground reality is what the article highlights in letter and spirit. The article only highlights the highhandedness of the Bank in rejecting a small payment to an ordinary person for no valid and acceptable reason. Definitely the same branch of the bank would have allowed cash withdrawals more than the sighted case to some customers of their liking the same day . Sum and substance of the article to my understanding is that, banks fail small customers these days and depositors can be easily ignored, with the flush of funds they have because of demonetisation. They are not answerable to anyone or accountable even to the regulator for violating the basic statutory requirement of honouring a cheque is what one can conclude. If they are not made amenable to the minimum discipline expected of them, the customers can be taken for a ride at the cost of banks' own viability , economic progress and regulators' image if any left over.

Vipan Kumar

1 month ago

We are also facing same problem with some banks, not only with sbi. I think shortage of cash in banks is coming to its end by day and day

Vipan Kumar

1 month ago

We are also facing same problem with some banks, not only with sbi. I think shortage of cash in banks is coming to its end by day and day

ravikant.narkhede

1 month ago

We are also facing same issue SBI ATM's in Pune..

Sanjeev JV

1 month ago

Honestly, this is not the case of just SBI.. I have an Axis Account, the problem is no ATMs in main part of the Hyderabad City has funds. Almost all ATMs are closed due to no funds. Can't blame only SBI, and not sure whom to blame? Axis?!! No!! I am not an economist to understand, but a common-man to understand that Banks are not getting bills back to stack it in ATMs or holding on for reasons best known to them before something unthinkable is about to happen. RBI should do something about it. Situation is pathetic!! For me, everyday for a Rs.45/- meal that I can pay only by cash, forcefully spending Rs.100/- minimum for just a Dosa in & around my office locality. That's the least joint that accepts card where minimum pricing is exorbitant. Likewise many challenges because small-time business people like Vegetable Street Hawkers, Street side Ironing Launderers, Road side food joints, Care takers do not even own a smart phone, Cant take a bus during my travel within city so forget digital payment!! Rs.3 in my waller for the last 1 week. I really do not want a suggestion to this message of mine, I can handle it smartly.. I can make a deal to pay these people monthly & do an account transfer but for how long am I supposed to this? Keep making deals with every possible person I transact??!! Ridiculously penalized on my time & my money that I have in my account at my bank!!

p venkateswara

1 month ago

the banks do not have money to give its customers, they are not asking loan or overdraft. customers are asking their money from saved years.but political people, MPS, MLAS, OTHER INDUSTRIALS & CONTRACTORS getting huge money from banks . in vijayawada M/s. Agri gold farm company was closed by AP political people. due to defacult is closed what about these banks . becuase the Agri Gold Farm Company people are not having any political support or caste support. they want to occupy forcibly, due to high land value & near to new capital of AP.

Ramesh Mehta

1 month ago

SBI is india's biggest PSU bank and is backed by goverment. No question of SBI going into bankruptcy...

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Ramesh Mehta 1 month ago

The article is pretty clear that SBI's actions are those of a bankrupt bank. It did not say, SBI is going bankrupt -- in fact, since it is a public sector bank - the actions clearly smack of egregious arrogance

Unnikrishnan Nair B C

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 1 month ago

I think you have got some strong anti bank attitude. Sbi is the only bank which used to replenish money in atms regularly. Since the other bank customers also draw money from these atms as their atms did not have cash, the sbi atms dry up fast. That is all. No need to draw wrong conclusions

Unnikrishnan Nair B C

1 month ago

The whole article is in bad taste and should sound as a false alarm. Dr Raju might have faced a one off situation of the particular branch not having sufficient cash to pay to the customers on a particular day. This happens with small branches with low cash balance retention limits. Had the customer deposited the cheque into his account this situation would not have arisen at all. By making a general sweeping statement that 90%of sbi atms do not have cash Dr Raju has tried to tarnish the image of the largest commercial bank in the country. I hope the bank will initiate steps against him for such ill founded allegations. I feel he might have some personal scores to settle with the branch manager. It is pertinent ti note that he has not mentioned the branch name.
I would request the admin of the site to cross check the veracity of such allegations before allowing such articles to be uploaded to the site for public view, lest it may tarnish the credibility of the site itself

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Unnikrishnan Nair B C 1 month ago

There are facts stated in the article about how customers are being treated. The RBI tells us that restrictions on deposits and withdrawals are over-- yet, part from t his article, there are many posts on twitter and other social media to the effect that ATMs continue to remain empty. Isn't an explanation owed to people?

Ram

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 1 month ago

Mam, its true that people are facing great difficulties in Hyderabad for the last 20 days. But the problem is general and its across all banks. Even local media is covering the news to some extent. So its not a false news. But I wonder why this is not happening across the country. May be the rbi/govt might have diverted more funds to election states and also because of the vicious cycle it started and also banks threatening of penalties for 4th/5th transactions, people started hoarding more money than its required otherwise.

T.c. Shivswamy

1 month ago

Has SBI informed its depositors the status of its NPA before merger and the effect on NPAs after merger. How much of it is being written off and how much tax payers money is being pumped into its capital by central government to balance its balance sheet. We are certainly moving towards American Banking system where depositors are taken for a ride and hundreds of banks have become bankrupt. Wake up Arunji weare living in a house of cards.

Sridhar Iyer

1 month ago

There is no way SBI going bankrupt. The report is far-fetched. Like to remind the prophets of gloom that SBI has got huge amount of hidden reserves that are not reflected in its B-sheet. How many know that its CO at N. Pt. itself is revalued and sold, it will fetch huge amount. Am sure that the value of such properties is being carried at historical cost in the B-sheet and does not reflect its true value.

Jaijawan Jaikisan

1 month ago

Don't spread panic in people. This could be temporary situation to complete the merger process not a sign of bankruptcy (also as march 31st is getting closer). It might also be doing investigation on influx of fake currency into its system.

REPLY

Jagannathan Srinivasan

In Reply to Jaijawan Jaikisan 1 month ago

you are correct.But sbi should have avoided this.Even if it is merger they should have given a chance to propagate a news like this.There will be a run on banks.

Jagannathan Srinivasan

In Reply to Jagannathan Srinivasan 1 month ago

they should not please correct it

Jagannathan Srinivasan

1 month ago

If i know this earlier about sbi bankruptcy i would not have repaid the educational loan last month.It is a great loss to me

Ramesh Poapt

1 month ago

shocking! but bankruptcy is just too much. it will not allowed to be.
icu status may be ok. what ML/resp. sd has to say on this please?

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Ramesh Poapt 1 month ago

I think the preceding commentators are taking a simplistic view, the author has not said that SBI is going bankrupt. In any case, as a sarkari bank, you the reader do not need to worry. What must hassle you more is how your bank is treating you, due to mismanagement.

RBI Governor: Please Stop Banks Fleecing Customers and Depositors!
A group of bank customers, consumer activists, policy watchers, bankers, trade unions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to urgently change policies to ensure that banks treat bank customers fairly. 
 
In a Memorandum sent to RBI Governor Dr Urjit Patel, they said, "We are disturbed at the unfair treatment that bank customers suffer in the form of frequent, arbitrary and one-sided increase in banking charges, or the refusal of banks to automatically pass on contractual benefits such as lower interest to those with floating rate home loans, or the rampant mis-sellling of third-party products such as insurance."
 
 
"The RBI as the banking regulator has been proactive in improving the customer service rendered by banks. However, the RBI has not taken banks to task on the many customer-unfriendly practices that are increasing with impunity. Over the years, the RBI has remained silent on several anti-depositor actions of banks. The Banking Ombudsman's rulings also tend to side with banks, making no attempt to observe the pattern of complaints which would amply bring out rampant mis-selling of insurance and wealth management products. We have identified some specific areas and request RBI's intervention to take corrective steps after engaging with customers," the Memorandum says.
 
 
The Memorandum is sent to the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Secretary of Financial Services as well. Those who have signed and endorsed the Memorandum, include, RN Bhaskar (Free Press Journal), Dhirendra Kumar (Value Research), Abhay Datar (Mumbai Grahak Panchayat), Shubha Khandekar, Harsh Vardhan Roongta, Dolphy D'souza (Police Reforms Watch), Mahua Ghose, Partha Mansukhani (Public Concern for Governance Trust -PCGT), Lalita Joshi (All India Bank Employees Association -AIBEA), Raj Vaidya (Central Bank Employees' Union -CBEU), Adv Bapoo Malcolm, Sucheta Dalal and Debashis Basu (Moneylife Foundation), S Saroja (Citizen consumer and civic Action Group -CAG, Chennai), AV Shenoy (Rashtriya Matdata Manch) and Yogesh Sapkale (Moneylife), among others. 
 
 
Based on the Memorandum, Sucheta Dalal, Founder-Trustee of Moneylife Foundation has started an online petition on Change.org. Here the link to sign the Petition online
 
Here is the copy of the Memorandum
 
 
 

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COMMENTS

Richard Armond

1 month ago

RBI has always bailed out SBI. RBI loves corrupt nationalized banks. Especially SBI. They always print more notes and supply to SBI, let the rupee devalue heavily and they let common man suffer as long as SBI's corrupt management is safe. So do not worry, people. SBI will never fail.

Richard Armond

1 month ago

RBI has always bailed out SBI. RBI loves corrupt nationalized banks. Especially SBI. They always print more notes and supply to SBI, let the rupee devalue heavily and they let common man suffer as long as SBI's corrupt management is safe. So do not worry, people. SBI will never fail.

Balaji Kasal

1 month ago

Hi,

I wonder does RBI too care for bank customers? It might think itself as Banking regulator... Not customer centric.

Since last months I am requesting SBI bank to move my home loan to MCLR regime without any charges. Raised compliant till SBI Principal Nodal Officer. Till date no response... forget about action.

On 7th March 2017 raised compliant to RBI on Mumbai Office of the Banking Ombudsman. No response.... Then raised compliant to RBI against its BO for no response. Received a auto mail saying - 'We acknowledge having received the above complaint letter and we will revert to you in due course.'
No date for resolution. No contact person.

Finally today sent mail to Moneylife Foundation for help to put in right forum. I am sure my concern would be take up to right forum/people.

Thanks.

REPLY

Richard Armond

In Reply to Balaji Kasal 1 month ago

Use RBI's SCORES online form to file complaint. You will definitely get a response.

Deepak Narain

1 month ago

I am a Senior Citizen. My main problem is that the ICICI Bank does not accept Form 15H online though some others do. If they too start, it will be a great relief to me and many others in my situation.

SuchindranathAiyerS

1 month ago

Indian Banking: A blend of Indian Governance (unaccountable profligacy, incompetence and corruption) and Ivy League Banking (Junk Bonds, Non Performing Assets and Insurance rip offs):

As per the over arching and Constitutional principles of the Indian Rapeublic, the good are made to suffer to benefit the wicked.

REPLY

Richard Armond

In Reply to SuchindranathAiyerS 1 month ago

Yes totally agree

Unnikrishnan Nair B C

1 month ago

I had sent a mail regarding this petition through change.org. Just because some so called big wigs have signed the memorandum whatever is said in it need not become true. The services from a bank, which is a commercial organisation, cannot be expected to be free. Does the site carry ads on it free of charge? One may argue that one has been forced to go to the banking channel and then he is being charged. The country's monetary policy framed by rbi needs to be honoured by everybody.

REPLY

MDT

In Reply to Unnikrishnan Nair B C 1 month ago

Thanks for your comment. We request you to carefully read the Memorandum and the text of the article once again. Nowhere it is mentioned that all should be 'free', as you stated. What bank consumers need is a fair treatment and no frequent, arbitrary and one-sided increase in banking charges, or the refusal of banks to automatically pass on contractual benefits such as lower interest to those with floating rate home loans, or the rampant mis-sellling of third-party products such as insurance. But may be for you, this unfair treatment towards consumers by banks falls under 'services' and nobody should complaint.

Jaijawan Jaikisan

1 month ago

Don't spread panic in people. This could be temporary situation to complete the merger process not a sign of bankruptcy (also as march 31st is getting closer). It might also be doing investigation on influx of fake currency into its system.

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