Following criticism, SBI looks at revising minimum balance amount and penalty

SBI collected Rs 1,771 crore from non-compliance of minimum balance account norm says report

People with savings accounts with SBI branches in semi-urban areas will have to pay fines to the tune of Rs 20 if their MAB is between Rs 1,999 and Rs 1,000, as opposed to Rs 25 before.

A finance ministry data, released this week, showed that SBI netted a windfall of Rs 1,771.67 crore, more than its second quarter profit, from customers for non-maintenance of monthly average balance in savings accounts in eight months of 2017-18.

At that time, it had fixed Rs 5,000 as minimum balance limit for metro city customers, Rs 3,000 for urban, Rs 2,000 for semi-urban and Rs 1,000 for rural customers. The figure exceeds SBI's July-September quarter net profit of Rs 1,581.55 crore. The bank has apparently been coming to this decision as it faced huge public backlash for profiting with fines. The SBI, after a gap of six years, had reintroduced the monthly average balance (MAB) charges from April 1, 2017.

Federal Bank officials told Mathrubhumi that accounts that require no MAB are available for depositing pensions and scholarships.

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SBI now charges penalty from customers for non-maintenance of monthly average balance in savings accounts.

SBI collected Rs1,771.67 crore from customers on account of non-maintenance of minimum average balance between April and November 2017. Later, as it received flak from customers, it reduced the charges with effect from October 1.

The bank had said savings bank accounts such as Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana, small accounts and basic savings bank deposit accounts, pensioners, minors and all social beneficiary accounts are exempted from MAB requirement and no charges ever have been recovered. The amount of penalty depends on the degree of shortfall. The biggest lender had also revised the penalties that account holders are supposed to pay for failing to maintain the stipulated balance in their savings accounts.

The customer can now maintain quarterly average balance (QAB) instead of monthly average balance, the statement isssued earlier said. If the shortfall is 50 per cent or less, then the bank charges Rs 50 plus service tax. Earlier, the penalties for these three stages were Rs 50, Rs 75 and Rs 100 respectively.

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