The State Bank of India has closed as many as 41.16 lakh savings bank accounts between April and January for not maintaining the minimum monthly balance, reveals an RTI query.
The nation's largest lender had re-introduced the charges for non-maintenance of average monthly balance in April last year after a gap of five years. The bank later revised downwards the charges for not maintaining the minimum balance in October.
Notably, the bank had yesterday announced a steep 75 per cent reduction in penalty for non-maintenance of monthly average balance. The new charges will be effective April 1.
"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.
The country's largest lender had reportedly collected Rs 1,771 crore during April- November 2017 as penalty from customers who couldn't maintain a minimum monthly average balance (MAB) in their accounts. The colossal amount is 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 April-September.
The RTI reply was furnished by the state-run lender on February 28, 2018.
The reply was to a specific query on the number of accounts closed after introduction of charges on non-maintenance of minimum balance from April 1, 2017.
The State Bank has 41 crore savings bank accounts. Of that, 16 crore are under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna/ basic savings bank deposit (BSBD) 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, 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.
Yesterday, the lender had reduced its charges for non- maintenance of average monthly balance by up to 75 per cent.
The bank has reduced the penal charges for non- maintenance of AMB in the metros and urban centres from a maximum of Rs 50 per month plus taxes at 18 per cent to Rs 15 a month and taxes. For urban and metro customers 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 MBA requirement for semi-urban area is Rs 2,000, while for the rural centres it 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, he added.