The State Bank of India is mulling over changing its rules for maintaining minimum average balance in savings accounts. It may also slash the penalties for non-maintenance of MAB.
Good news for the SBI customers. Having faced all-round flak for levying and collecting hefty charges for non-maintenance of minimum average balance (MAB) in savings accounts, the State Bank of India is now mulling over changing its rules for maintaining minimum balance in savings accounts. It is also likely to slash the penalties for non-maintenance of MAB, according to media reports.
Sources said that the bank may lower its minimum balance requirement in metro cities from Rs 3,000 at present to Rs 1,000, while the requirement to maintain monthly average balance may be changed to quarterly average balance. This will help those people who don’t have a regular cash flow.
SBI is reported to have collected a whopping Rs 1,771 crore during April to November 2017 as charges from below minimum balance accounts. These charges were slapped on customers who failed to maintain the minimum monthly average balance in their accounts. The amount is said to be more than the bank’s July-September quarter net profit of Rs 1,581.55 crore and nearly half of the Rs 3,586 crore it earned as net profit during April to September last year. Like SBI, a lot of other banks have also collected hefty sums as charges for non-maintenance of MAB. PNB, for instance, has collected Rs 97.34 crore, while Central Bank of India has collected Rs 68.67 crore as charges for non non-maintenance of minimum account balance.
However, SBI later clarified that it has close to 40.5 crore savings bank account customers. On an average balance of Rs 3000 in metro, SBI earns Rs 6 only per month whereas for a minimum balance of Rs 1000 in rural, the bank earns Rs 2 per month which is meagre when compared to the services offered and corresponding costs incurred by the bank (like free cheque book, 8 free ATM transactions, free branch transactions). It also said that “many savings bank accounts such as Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY), small and Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) accounts, pensioners, minors and all social beneficiary accounts are exempted from MAB requirement and no charges ever have been recovered.” Moreover, it also provides its customers an option to convert their existing savings accounts to BSBD accounts free of cost.
It may be noted that like other banks, SBI used to levy charges earlier for non-maintenance of MAB in savings accounts. However, it had done away with the minimum balance criteria for savings bank accounts in the beginning of this decade to increase its customer base. But after a gap of around 6 years, SBI again decided to resume the charges on savings account holders for failing to maintain MAB in their accounts. The charges became effective from April 1, 2017.
However, as SBI started facing wide criticism for this step, it later revised the service charges for for non-maintenance of MAB. It also decided to treat the metro and urban centres in the same category and the requirement of MAB in metro centres stood reduced to Rs 3,000 from Rs 5,000 earlier. For non-maintenance of MAB, the charges were revised downward ranging from 20% to 50% across all population groups and categories. The revised MAB requirement and charges became effective from 1st October last year.