The State Bank of India has asked its branches to remove the minimum balance stipulation and refund charges that were collected for failure to maintain the same.
The circular issued on April 25 said the bank has decided to waive the requirement of maintenance of minimum balance for all types of savings bank accounts with immediate effect.
Accordingly, no minimum balance charges would be levied every quarter henceforth, the circular addressed to chief general managers of all SBI circles said.
Branches were advised to use approved publicity material to the effect and to have them displayed prominently on branch premises. In a preceding circular sent only the day before, the bank ordered refund of charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance ‘of personal segment' customers.
This was aimed at setting right an earlier order that sought to apply charges for non-maintenance of minimum balances on all eligible accounts for the quarter ended March 31, 2012.
The circular said that “the competent authority has since approved refund of minimum balance charges recovered, if any, in respect of non-maintenance of minimum balance for the quarter.” A senior official of SBI said, “We are doing this to help improve our customer base. It has been in the offing for some time.”
Banks, including SBI, fixed a higher minimum savings balance for customers in order to help compensate for services they provided. The waiver of minimum balance therefore represents a major departure from the bank's policy. The official did not elaborate on why the change was done.