Banking services were affected on Tuesday after members of two bank unions, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), took to the streets across the country to stage one-day protest against government’s decision to merge public-sector lenders.

Bank services like depositing cash and other official work were affected due to the strike. However, Public sector bank branches located in Urban cities were functioning as these units are not part of the protesting unions, Press Trust of India reported.

Recently, six important nationalized banks i.e. Andhra Bank, Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank, Syndicate Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, and United Bank of India, were closed down.

“Merger of banks is totally unwarranted in India as we need more banking services and opening of more branches to serve the people. The merger has so far resulted in the closure of branches and hence it is a wrong policy,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBEA said in the statement.

“Recovery of the huge bad loans is the top priority for the banks and the merger of banks will change the priority. Hence merger is a bad idea,” AIBEA said.

Besides the merger, the union is also protesting against the reforms of the sector and increasing NPAs. The unions have demanded stringent action against the loan defaulters.

(With input from agencies)