SBI shuts down over 41 lakh bank accounts for not maintaining minimum balance

State Bank of India has closed as many as 41.16 lakh savings accounts between April-January in the current fiscal year for not maintaining the average monthly balance, reveals an RTI query.

Last April, the nation’s largest lender had re-introduced the penal charges on non-maintenance of average monthly balance after a gap of five years. Later in October, it had revised down the charges to some extent.

“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 SBI on 28 February 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 1 April 2017.

The State Bank has 41 crore savings bank accounts. Of that, 16 crore are under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (basic savings bank deposit) and of pensioner, minors, social security benefit holders which are all exempted from the penalty for not maintaining of the minimum balance.

Between April and November 2017, the bank had netted a windfall of Rs1,771.67 crore, more than its second quarter profit, from customers for non-maintenance of minimum balance, according to the finance ministry data.

On Tuesday, SBI reduced its charges for non-maintenance of average monthly balance by up to 75% from a maximum of Rs50 per month plus taxes at 18% to Rs15.

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