According to a written reply to a Parliament question, the low monthly average balance was charged by SBI till 2012 but it stopped doing so till March 31, 2016 while other banks, including private banks, were charging as approved by their boards. SBI reintroduced the charge from April 1, 2017. The minimum balance requirements were subsequently reduced from October 1, 2017.
There is no minimum balance requirement for basic savings bank deposit accounts and Jan-Dhan accounts. Apart from the over Rs 10,000 crore collected by state-run banks during the three-and-a-half-year period, private banks would also have collected a hefty amount. Data for private banks was not included in the numbers provided in the Parliament question.
The details emerged in a reply by the finance ministry to a question posed by Lok Sabha MP Dibyendu Adhikari on Tuesday. The ministry said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had permitted banks to fix charges on various services rendered by them, as approved by their boards. The banks are to ensure that the charges are reasonable and not out of line with the average cost of providing these services.
It also said, according to the RBI’s directions, a minimum of three free transactions at any other bank’s ATM at six metros — Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad — and a minimum of five free ATM transactions at a bank’s own ATM at any other location is permitted during a month.
“Beyond this minimum number of free ATM transactions, banks have their board-approved policy on charges from customers on ATM transactions subject to a cap of Rs 20 per transaction,” the ministry said in its reply.
The ministry also said public sector banks had informed that they do not have any plans to shut down their ATMs. This was in response to the question on whether the government proposes to withdraw 50% of total ATM services in the country by March 2019.