(G.N.S) Dt. 14
State Bank of India closed 41.2 lakh savings accounts between April 2017 and January 2018 as they did not maintain the minimum required average monthly balance, the bank’s response to a Right to Information query showed. The bank has nearly 41 crore savings accounts, of which 25 crore are required to maintain a certain minimum balance amount.
State Bank of India (SBI) has closed as many as 41.16 lakh savings accounts between April-January in the current fiscal year for not maintaining the minimum balance, reveals an RTI query.
Last April, SBI had re-introduced the penal charges on non-maintenance of average monthly balance after a gap of five years. Later in October, it had revised down the charges to some extent.
India’s largest lender had started charging depositors the penalty on April 1, 2017. It requires savings accounts to maintain a minimum average monthly balance of Rs 3,000 in metropolitan areas, Rs 2,000 in semi-urban areas and Rs 1,000 in rural areas.
“Due to provisions of penalty on non-maintenance of minimum balance, the bank has closed 41.16 lakh savings bank accounts between 1 April 2017 and 31 January 2018,” the bank replied to an RTI query filed by Chandra Shekhar Gaud from Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh.
Even though the reply was furnished by SBI on 28 February 2018, the bank on Tuesday steeply reduced the penal charges on not maintaining the minimum balance.
The reply was to a specific query on the number of accounts being closed after introduction of charges on non- maintenance of minimum balance from 1 April 2017.
The State Bank has 41 crore savings bank accounts. Of that, 16 crore are under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (basic savings bank deposit) and of pensioner, minors, social security benefit holders which are all exempted from the penalty for not maintaining of the minimum balance.
Between April and November 2017, the bank had netted a windfall of Rs 1,771.67 crore, more than its second quarter profit, from customers for non-maintenance of minimum balance, according to the finance ministry data.
On Tuesday, SBI reduced its charges for non-maintenance of average monthly balance by up to 75% from a maximum of Rs 50 per month plus taxes at 18% to Rs 15.
For urban and metro customers, the average monthly balance is of Rs 3,000 per month. For semi-urban and rural centres, the charges have been reduced from Rs 40 to Rs 12, and Rs 10 per, respectively.
The minimum balance requirement for semi-urban area is Rs 2,000, while for rural centres is Rs 1,000. The bank offers its customers the option to shift from regular savings accounts to BSBD accounts on which no charges are levied.
(G.N.S) Dt. 14