“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.
Even though the reply was furnished by the state-run lender on February 28, 2018, the bank on Tuesday steeply reduced the penal charges on not maintaining the minimum balance.
The reply was to a specific query on the number of accounts being closed after introduction of charges on non- maintenance of minimum balance from April 1, 2017.
State Bank of India has 41 crore savings bank accounts. Of that, 16 crore are under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana/basic savings bank deposit (BSBD) and of pensioner, minors, social security benefit holders which are all exempted from the penalty for not maintaining the minimum balance.
Between April and November 2017, 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.
On Tuesday, the lender reduced its charges for non-maintenance of average monthly balance (AMB) 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 average monthly balance requirement for semi-urban area is Rs. 2,000, while for rural centres 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.