In last four years, 24 state and privately run banks had together collected a sum of more than Rs. 11,500 crore from customer for non-maintenance of minimum balance. As per the release by the Finance Ministry in the Lok Sabha on Friday, SBI alone charged more than Rs. 2400 crore in the last fiscal i.e. FY 2017-18 and amongst the 3 private lenders, HDFC accounted for the maximum share at Rs. 590 crore.
In the last fiscal year, 3 large PSBs accounted for around 40% of this penal amount collected by total 21 PSBs from bank customers. Banks charge a penalty for not maintaining minimal specified account balance across different account types mainly to recover part of the amount i.e spend on servicing these accounts.
Say for an instance, SBI introduced such charges after a gap of 4 years with effect from April 1, 2017. The charges range in between Rs. 5- Rs. 15 plus GST charges depending on the shortfall. SBI customers depending upon the branch location are stipulated to maintain average monthly balance of Rs. 3,000 in metro and urban areas, Rs. 2,000 in semi-urban and Rs. 1000 in rural areas.
For HDFC customers, the AMB requirement is Rs. 10,000 in urban and metro area, Rs. 5000 in semi-urban and Rs. 2,500 in case of rural areas. Also, the penalty charges depend on your branch location i.e. for customers with bank branch in metro or urban and semi-urban areas is between Rs. 150- Rs. 600 plus applicable GST while for rural areas it is Rs. 270-Rs. 450 plus GST.
However, if you wish to avoid such minimum balance charges then you can open a savings account under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. Basic savings bank accountsalso does not comes with the minimum balance requirements.
Also, banks as per its discretion can exempt any of the particular account from this minimum balance requirement. There is also a provision wherein in case of default by the customer in meeting this threshold value, a notification to this effect will be sent over to the customer via SMS or letter or e-mail. In case the customer then meets the requirement by maintaining the minimum balance requirement within a month, then such charges will be waived.