The two-day nationwide strike called by the United Forum of Bank Union in protest against privatisation of the government banks began on Monday.

The leader of a major union claimed total success impacting the clearance of two crore cheques/instruments worth about Rs 16,500 crore.

"On an average, about 2 crore cheques/instruments worth about Rs 16,500 crore are held up for clearance. Government treasury operations and all normal banking transactions have been affected," C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) said.

According to him, about 10 lakh bank employees struck work signalling their negation of the government's decision to privatise its banks.

The Central government has decided to privatise two public sector banks in addition to IDBI Bank, and the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) had given the strike call in protest.

"As per reports reaching us from various states, banking operations have been affected and paralysed in all centres," Venkatachalam said.

"Most of the Branches could not be opened. Clearing of cheques could happen since branches are not accepting cheques for clearance as branches are closed," he said.

He said the strike would continue on Tuesday to save the banks from being taken over by private vested interests.

"The strike to save the savings of our people. The strike is to ensure more loans to priority and weaker sections," Venkatachalam added.

He said the banks are making operational profits and they are showing net loss owing to provisions because the corporate borrowers defaults.

He said during 2019-20 the operating profits of government banks were Rs 1,74,336 crore, provision for doubtful debts Rs 2,00,352 crore and the net loss stood at Rs 26,016 crore.

The UFBU, an umbrella body of nine unions in the banking sector, had given the strike call.