SBI ‘reviewing’ 5k min balance rule
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 underprivileged 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.