Andhra Bank slips into banking history

The staff at Andhra Bank Founder’s Branch in Machilipatnam were being consoled by rare visitors over the merger of the bank with the Union Bank of India — mostly elderly people who had shared a distinctive association as former employees of the 96-year-old organisation.
An employee in managerial cadre at the Founder’s Branch told, requesting anonymity; “The merger is otherwise a meticulous process of losing the identity of the bank in the Indian banking history. I feel like losing my own identity of being a proud employee of Andhra Bank”.
A retired senior manager of the bank, said the people of Andhra Pradesh would soon have nothing to claim the illustrious journey of the bank that was born and that grew in the port town of Machilipatnam in November 1923. 
“At a time we are gearing up the celebrate the centenary celebration in the next four years, the news of merger came like a thunderstorm,” he added.
Former Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chowdary, a native of Machilipatnam, had in November 2015 appealed to the Andhra Bank authorities to shift its headquarters from Hyderabad to Machilipatnam where it was born and flourished.

The Pattabhi Seetaramaiah library and memorial on the first floor of the Founder’s Branch is now thronged by visitors, expressing grief over the merger.
Singaraju Govardhan, Joint Secretary, Gandhi-Kasturbha Seva Sangham (GKSS), that owns the house of Andhra Bank founder Bhogaraju Pattabhi Seetaramaiah (1880-1959) on the Port Road said: “The merger forces people to forget the bank, particularly the contribution of its founder to the banking sector in Andhra Pradesh. Forgetting Pattibhi, as fondly called by locals, means forgetting a crucial chapter of the freedom movement in Andhra Pradesh.”
Pattabhi house
The house, mostly with wooden infrastructure, is now in a dilapidated state, crying for conservation. In 1970, the State government bought the house from members of Pattabhi’s family after the latter decided to sell it. “GKSS has been formed during the tenure of then Collector C.S. Sastry for the conservation of the heritage building, in which Pattabhi had lived. It witnessed brainstorming talks on the course of freedom struggle in Machilipatnam,” said Mr. Govardhan.
In 2011, the GKSS proposed that Andhra Bank conserve and restore the house. “Conservation and restoration of Pattabhi’s house is now doubtful with the merger of the bank,” added Mr. Govardhan.

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