New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the media on the economy on Friday and announced a slew of measures to strengthen the banking sector.

In one of the biggest decisions announced by the finance minister was the merger of Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank.

Speaking on the same, Sitharaman said that the target bank will be the second-largest public sector bank with a business of Rs 17.95 lakh crore.

She also announced plans to merge Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank; Union Bank of India, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank, and Indian Bank with Allahabad Bank. “There is no government interference in commercial decisions of banks,” Sitharaman added.

Talking about gross bad loans of public sector banks, the finance minister said that the bad loans have come down to Rs 7.9 lakh crore from Rs 8.65 lakh crore at December-end 2018.

“Union Bank of India, with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank, shall become the fifth largest public sector bank now,” said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. “Indian Bank with Allahabad Bank, they will be the seventh-largest Public Sector Bank with business of Rs 8.08 lakh crores,” she further added.

Explaining this move, Finance Secretary Rajeev Kumar said, “In amalgamation process, no.of banks have been brought down to 12 from 27. There has been no retrenchment so far, there is no chance of retrenchment. The benefits of employment & HR will improve, with amalgamation the best combination will be taken up.”