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The State Bank of India (SBI) netted a windfall of Rs 17.72 billion, more than its second quarter profit, from customers for non-maintenance of monthly average balance in savings accounts in eight months of 2017-18, the finance ministry data showed. SBI has close to 405 million savings account customers. The lender, after a gap of six years, had reintroduced the monthly average balance charges from April 1, 2017.
After criticism by customers, it had reduced those charges effective October 1. “On an average balance of Rs 3,000 in metro, SBI earns Rs 6 only per month whereas for a minimum balance of Rs 1,000 in rural, the bank earns Rs 2 per month, which is meagre compared with the services offered and corresponding costs incurred by the bank (free cheque book, eight free ATM transactions, free branch transactions),” the lender said. Another public lender, Punjab National Bank, collected only Rs 973.4 million for non-maintenance of balance. The other government banks which collected in excess of Rs 50 crore as penalty from customers were Central Bank of India, Canara Bank, IDBI Bank and Indian Bank. The charges collected by SBI for non-maintenance of minimum balance exceeds the bank's July-September quarter net profit of Rs 1,581.55 crore. The amount was also nearly half of the Rs 3,586 crore the bank earned as net profit from April to September. "We would like to clarify that savings bank accounts such as Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY), Small accounts and Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) accounts, Pensioners, minors and all social beneficiary accounts are exempted from MAB requirement and no charges ever have been recovered," SBI said.