Jan 5: In a move that could providing much relief to customers, banking behemoth State Bank of India (SBI) is said to be thinking of snipping the minimum balance requirement to Rs 1000 to the current Rs 3000 in the metros.
The thought seems to have arisen after SBI was at the receiving end a major backlash after data put out by the Ministry of Finance revealed that the bank had levied Rs 17.72 billion from customers for non-maintenance of monthly balance in savings accounts.
The amount was charged from customers over a period of just eight months. The revelation came as a shock to many customers, who took to social media to condemn the bank’s act.
The fact that the levied amount was more than its profit figures for the second quarter added to the ridicule and condemnation. Around 405 million customers hold their savings accounts with the State Bank of India.
Going by an SBI statement published by the media, the bank earns Rs 6 only per month on an average balance of Rs 3,000 in the metros. And, for a minimum balance of Rs 1,000 in rural branches, the bank earns Rs 2 per month. This is paltry, according the bank, as the money thus collected doesn’t suffice for the services offered to customers and the corresponding costs incurred by it when it provides free chequebook, 8 free ATM transactions, free branch transactions et al.
It has also said that it doesn’t levy minimum charges for savings bank accounts such as Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojna, small accounts and basic savings bank deposit accounts, pensioners, minors and all social beneficiary accounts are exempted from minimum balance requirement, and so these accounts were not subject to any charges.