KOCHI: Muthoot Finance Ltd, which has been facing protests from CITU activists, announced the closure of 15 branches in the state, effective from Wednesday, even as the conciliation meeting convened by the Labour Minister in Thiruvananthapuram was postponed to September 9 in Ernakulam.
The Kochi-headquartered gold finance company said its branches at Kathrikadavu, Panangad, Kangarappady, Ponnarimangalam -- all in Ernakulam district -- Ulloor and Peringamala in Thiruvananthapuram; Punalur, Kottarakkara City branch and Bharanikavu in Kollam; Thengana in Kottayam; Koluthu Palam-Kumily in Idukki; Pathiripala and Sulthanpet in Palakkad; and Kottakkal-Changuvetty and Down Hill in Malappuram would be closed down.
The company said no fresh gold loans would be granted at these branches from Wednesday, and arrangements made for closure of loans/release of the gold ornaments pledged would be intimated to the respective customers individually. Muthoot Finance also said customers would be given three months to close their loan accounts and take back their ornaments.
Following the CITU activists’ decision not to allow a large number of Muthoot Finance branches to function, the company had said it would be forced to shut down over 300 of its 600-odd branches in Kerala.
However, the 15 branches which are being closed down could be due to the fact that these branches are not profit-making, said sources. However, Babu John, DGM, Communications, Muthoot Finance, said, “These branches are CITU infested and the union had forced to close these branches.”
Conciliation meeting called on September 9
A meeting convened by Labour Minister T P Ramakrishnan between the protesting CITU leaders, CITU-backed Non-Banking and Private Finance Employees Association and the Muthoot Finance management on Wednesday did not materialise after the company management did not participate. “We are determined to resolve the matter through talks. It is with this intention that we have postponed the meeting to September 9 in Ernakulam,” the minister said.