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SBI Latest Changes: Charges For Insufficient Balance, Closure Of 41 Lakh Savings Bank Accounts

NDTV logo NDTV 17-03-2018 NDTV Profit Team

State Bank Of India (SBI) has been in the news throughout the past week for lowering its penalties on non-maintenance of minimum balance in savings bank accounts. The lender was also in the news for the closure of over 41 lakh savings bank accounts. The minimum balance requirements, however, across its metro, urban, semi-urban and rural branches stayed the same. The largest lender of the country later clarified that the savings bank accounts were not closed after the introduction of the average monthly balance requirement. 

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SBI reduced the charges for non-maintenance of average monthly balance (AMB) for customers in metro and urban centres from a maximum of Rs. 50 per month plus GST to Rs 15 per month plus GST. Similarly, for semi-urban and rural SBI centres, the charges have been reduced from Rs 40 per month plus GST to Rs 12 and Rs 10 per month plus GST respectively, SBI said in a release.

For urban and metro customers, average monthly balance stands at Rs. 3,000 per month. The average monthly balance requirement for semi-urban area is Rs. 2,000, while for rural centres it is Rs. 1,000.

READ: SBI Cuts Minimum Balance Charge. Here’s What They Charge Now

SBI reduced the charges for non-maintenance of average minimum balance by up to 75 per cent, effective from April 01, 2018. The above revision in AMB will benefit 25 crore customers, SBI said. After a gap of five years, in April 2017, SBI had re-introduced the penal charges on non-maintenance of average monthly balance. Later in October, it had revised down the charges to some extent.

SBI savings accounts closed

Incidentally, an RTI query revealed that SBI has closed as many as 41.16 lakh savings bank accounts between April-January FY18 for not maintaining the average monthly balance. "Due to provisions of penalty on non-maintenance of minimum balance, the bank has closed 41.16 lakh savings bank accounts between April 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018," the bank replied to an RTI query filed by Chandra Shekhar Gaud from Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh, according to a report released on Tuesday by news agency Press Trust of India.

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SBI, on Thursday, however issued a contrary statement as it revealed that the savings bank accounts were not closed suo-motu. The bank said that they were closed after customers asked the bank to close them. The savings bank accounts were not closed after the introduction of the requirement of AMB, SBI said.

During the current financial year, 2.10 crore savings bank accounts were opened, of which 1.10 crore accounts are Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana accounts, which are exempt from average monthly balance requirement, SBI further clarified.

On account of the merger of SBI's associate banks with SBI in April 2017, where the customers were having multiple accounts with different associate banks and SBI, the number of accounts closed during the year is relatively high. 

Customers who are not able to maintain AMB can get their regular savings bank accounts converted to basic savings bank deposit account (BSBD) accounts for free, SBI said. 

(With Agency Inputs)

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