The latest negative response is from the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) which has expressed its opposition to Bank Negara’s forced bank merger plan.
The NUBE fears that as many as 15,000 workers out of the 75,000 employees in the banking sector may lose their jobs once the 21 banks, 25 finance companies and 12 merchant banks are merged into six core banking groups.
The NUBE, which complained that there was no consultation with the banking industry unions over the forced merger plan, has rightly pointed out that forcing 58 banks, finance companies and merchant banks to become six would mean numerous cultures and systems made into one.
What is worrisome, however, is not just a clash of different cultures and systems but also of different agendas which will cause more harm than good in the long run for the financial industry and investor confidence.
Although Bank Negara has stated that its move to consolidate the banking
industry was not politically motivated, there is still a lot of convincing
to be done by the central bank. Would the mergers result in
the concentration of the banking business under the ownership of a few
closely linked to the present powers-that-be while banking groups that
have been closely identified with the former Deputy Prime Minister and
Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, would be gobbled up - even
producing the outrageous spectacle of weak or "ailing" banks taking
over strong and "healthy" ones?
For this reason, DAP calls for an independent study of Bank Negara’s forced bank merger proposal as to whether a clash of cultures, systems and agendas will cause more harm than good in the long run to the financial industry as well as investor confidence.