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SBI reduced minimum balance limit for savings account, effective on April 1

13 March 2018

It slashed service charges for non-maintenance of AMB by 20-50%.

Currently, SBI imposes a charge between Rs30 and Rs50, plus GST, on accounts in metro and urban branches if AMB is not maintained. For semi-urban and rural centres, the penalty has been reduced from Rs 40 to Rs 12 a month. The SBI, India's largest PSU bank, has reportedly said that the decision of slashing AMB was taken keeping in view the feedback from various stakeholders. In the big cities, account holders have to keep at least 5,000 rupees, account holders in urban areas, 3,000 rupees, account holders in small towns and Rs. 1,000 in rural areas to keep a minimum amount of 1,000 rupees.

The bank contains Rs. 41 crores savings bank accounts, out of which 16 crore accounts under the Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY), and Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBD) and of pensioner/minors/social security benefit holders were already exempted. Earlier the charges were Rs 50 per month plus GST. The move had invited widespread criticism. The rates have been reduced by 75 per cent and new charges will be effective from April 1, 2018.

"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", he said.

As The Wire has reported, during April-November 2017, SBI collected Rs 1,771 crore in penal charges from its customers, which was more than its net profit of Rs 1,581.55 crore for the same period.

Public sector banks (PSBs) are reeling under bad loans. While ICICI charges Rs 100 plus 5 percent of the shortfall in required MAB, HDFC Bank charges up to Rs 600 for not maintaining the balance.

In this case, the SBI Bank has replaced the penalty again.

RBI guidelines mandate that charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance in savings bank accounts be "reasonable". The sum was more than SBI's July-September quarter net benefit of Rs 1,581.55 crore and nearly 50% of the Rs 3,586 crore it earned as net benefit April-September. "But it can't work this way that everything comes free", Kumar said.

SBI reduced minimum balance limit for savings account, effective on April 1