SBI to relook ₹ 5,000 min­i­mum bal­ance rule

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Mayur.Shetty@ times­group.com

Mum­bai: SBI is tak­ing a relook at its Rs 5,000 min­i­mum bal­ance re­quire­ment fol­low­ing crit­i­cism over new charges for cus­tomers with a lower bal­ance. The bank came un­der at­tack af­ter ac­counts opened for stu­dents and the un­der­priv­i­leged were sub­jected to penal­ties for low bal­ance.

Speak­ing to TOI, SBI MD Ra­jnish Ku­mar said the norms were not “cast in iron”, and were be­ing de­bated within the bank.

Of the over 40 crore sav­ings ac­counts opened by the bank, more than 13 crore were un­der the PM’s Jan Dhan Yo­jana. These ac­counts were ba­sic sav­ings bank de­posit ac­counts (BSBDA), which ev­ery bank is ex­pected to of­fer to the un­der­priv­i­leged.

BSBDAs are equipped with most of the fea­tures of a reg­u­lar sav­ings ac­count, but do not of­fer the cheque book fa­cil­ity. Ku­mar said there had been sev­eral in­stances of stu­dents and the un­der- priv­i­leged open­ing reg­u­lar ac­counts in­stead of BSBDAs. “...We are... ac­tively ad­vis­ing peo­ple to con­vert their reg­u­lar ac­counts to BSBDAs, for which there are no charges on not main­tain­ing min­i­mum quar­terly bal­ance,” he said.

Around six crore SBI sav­ings bank ac­counts were found to be short of the min­i­mum bal­ance in the last quar­ter. “It is dif­fi­cult for us to iden­tify which of these be­long to the un­der­priv­i­leged,” said Ku­mar.

He, how­ever, ruled out any roll­back of low-bal­ance charges. “Ev­ery year, the bank pays out Rs 1,500 crore to other banks for SBI cus­tomers us­ing their ATMs. We can bear costs for those who are un­der priv­i­leged but not for ev­ery­one,” Ku­mar added.

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