Integration of IT platform is biggest challenge for United Bank, says CEO


United Bank of India expects greater clarity on standardisation and harmonisation of systems, procedures, products and technology integration to emerge in the next 10 to 15 days.As per the mega merger plan, Punjab National Bank (PNB), Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India are set to combine to form the country’s second-largest lender.Technology integrationThe merged entity will come into existence by April 1, but complete technology integration will only be possible by September, said Ashok Kumar Pradhan, Managing Director and CEO, United Bank of India.“The internal groups are ready with their reports for harmonisation and standardisation of products and that will be taken care of by the steering committee by the end of this month. But integration of IT platform is our biggest challenge,” Pradhan told BusinessLine.The anchor bank, Punjab National Bank, has been working with Infosys to ensure the seamless integration of the technology platform.PNB currently uses the software Finacle 10, while the two other banks use Finacle 7.Both OBC and United Bank will go in for direct integration rather than upgrading to Finacle 10 and then merging it.The scale at which the integration is set to happen has not been experimented so far in the banking industry, he said, and added: “We were expecting the Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank merger to give us some clue, but they have not been able to sort out the issues so far, so they are operating through an intermediary server. But we are thinking of directly integrating all three banks’ servers.”It is yet to be decided whether the three merging banks will go in for direct integration or through the intermediary server.The organisational structure of the merged entity will be more or less similar to the structure adopted by State Bank of India during the merger of associate banks.“There will be a local head office….it could be a zonal or regional office headed by chief general managers, and they will be supported by zonal or regional managers. The model is tested and established well, so we will adopt that to move ahead smoothly,” he said.New logoUnited Bank of India has urged the government to consider a new name and logo for the entity after merger that befits the value system of all three banks.“This (new name and logo) is what the employees, customers and other stakeholders are aspiring for, and we are trying to convey to the government.“A Parliamentary approval may be required for the same,” he added.


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