State Bank of India (SBI) on Tuesday lowered charges payable for non-maintenance of average monthly balance (AMB) for savings accounts. Effective April 1, customers in the metros and other urban centres will have to pay between Rs 10 and Rs 15 if their AMB drops below Rs 3,000, against Rs 30-50 earlier. Deposit-holders in semi-urban locations will have to shell out between Rs 7.50 and Rs 12 if their balance falls below Rs 2,000. Those in rural locations will have to pay between Rs 5 and Rs 10 if the balance falls below Rs 1,000. The range of charges for both semi-urban and rural locations was Rs 20-40 earlier. These charges are exclusive of Goods and Services Tax (GST). The revision in charges will benefit 25 crore customers, SBI said. PK Gupta, managing director – retail and digital banking, SBI, said the reduction in charges took into account the feedback and sentiments of the bank’s customers. “The bank has always focused on keeping the interests of its customers first, and this is one of our many efforts towards fulfilling customer expectations. The bank also offers its customers the option to shift from regular savings bank account to BSBD (basic savings bank deposit) account on which no charges are levied,” he said.
SBI has 41 crore savings bank accounts, of which 16 crore accounts fall under the Jan Dhan Yojana, BSBD and of pensioners/minors/social security benefit holders category, which are exempted from AMB requirements. SBI’s closest rival HDFC Bank has an average quarterly balance (AQB) requirement of Rs 2,500 for regular savings accounts with rural branches, an AMB of Rs 5,000 for semi-urban branches and Rs 10,000 for those in urban branches.
Penalty amounts range between Rs 150 and Rs 600. ICICI Bank’s AMB ranges between Rs 1,000 and Rs 10,000, while penalty amounts can be anywhere between 5% of the shortfall and Rs 100 plus 5% of the shortfall.