India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) announced yesterday that it has lowered the charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance from Rs.50 per month to Rs.15 per month. This revision is expected to benefit more than 25 crore customers who have savings account in SBI. In January, SBI also lowered the minimum balance requirement for all its savings accounts.
According to the new regulations, accounts in metros and urban regions of the country will attract a charge of Rs.15 per month if the required minimum balance is not maintained. For semi-urban locations, the charges have been reduced from Rs.40 per month to Rs.12 per month. In rural centers, the charges are now Rs.10 per month. All these charges are excluding the Good and Services Tax (GST).
According to SBI’s managing director PK Gupta, these changes are incorporated based on the feedback from the bank’s customers. He also noted that the bank has always focused on the interests of customers, and this is one of the measures taken to fulfill the expectations of customers.
The bank also allows its customers to convert their regular savings account to basic savings bank deposit account (BSBD). The BSBD accounts are mainly intended for pensioners, minors, and government scheme beneficiaries. These accounts attract no penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance.
In January 2018, SBI lowered its minimum balance requirement in savings bank accounts after facing criticism about the profits generated through penalty charges. SBI currently has over 41 crore savings bank accounts, of which 16 crore are BSBD accounts.
In a related development, a reply to an RTI query found that SBI has closed over 41.16 lakh accounts owing to inactivity and lack of minimum balance maintenance. The bank replied that these closures happened between April 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018 of the current fiscal year.
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