State Bank of India (SBI) has slashed its charges on non-maintenance of an average monthly balance (AMB) in savings account by up to 75 per cent, effective April 1.
The charges for non-maintenance of AMB for customers in metro and urban centres have been reduced from a maximum of Rs 50 per month plus goods and services tax (GST) to Rs 15 per month plus GST for shartfall of over 75 per cent of the AMB. The above revision will benefit 25 crore bank customers. For semi-urban and rural centres, the charges have been reduced from Rs 40 per month plus GST to Rs 12 and Rs 10 per month plus GST, respectively, the bank said.
For urban and metro areas, the AMB is Rs 3000, semi-urban areas Rs 2000 and rural areas Rs 1,000. For rural areas, the charge for non-maintenance of AMB has been cut from Rs 40 to Rs 10 plus GST. In metro and urban areas, shortfall in AMB balance of up to 50 per cent has been cut from Rs 30 to 10 and for shortfall of between 50-75 per cent from Rs 40 to Rs 12.
The bank has been collecting around Rs 220 crore every month from customers for non-maintenance of monthly balance since April 2017, leading to protests from customers.
“We have reduced these charges taking into account the feedback and sentiments of our customers,” SBI’s managing director (retail and digital banking) P K Gupta said. “The bank has always focused on keeping the interests of its customers first and this is one of our many efforts towards fulfilling customers’ expectations.”
“SBI also offers its customers to shift from a regular savings bank account to basic savings bank deposit account (BSBD) on which no charges are levied,” Gupta said.
The Indian Express had reported on January 1, 2018, that State Bank of India had collected a whopping Rs 1,771 crore during April-November 2017 as charges from below minimum balance accounts. The charges were slapped on customers who did not maintain their minimum monthly average balance in their accounts. The amount so collected was more than the bank’s July-September quarter net profit of Rs 1,581.55 crore and nearly half of the Rs 3,586 crore it earned as net profit from April to September.
SBI did not collect any money from levy of charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance during the 2016-17 financial year. The charges were re-introduced after a gap of five years during the current fiscal. The bank has a very strong deposit franchise having 41 crores savings bank accounts out of which 16 crore accounts under PMJDY/ BSBD and of pensioner/minors/social security benefit holders were already exempted. In addition, students upto the age of 21 years are also exempted.
A customer always has the option of converting the regular savings bank account to BSBD account free of charge, in case he desires to avail basic savings bank facilities without being subject to maintenance of AMB, Gupta said.