According to the banking data, 21 public sector banks and three major private sector banks have collected around Rs.5000 crores as minimum balance penalty from customers for the financial year 2017-18. Of which, State Bank of India has accounted for more than half of penalty amount of Rs.2434 crore.
Top five banks in the list are SBI (Rs.2434 Crore), HDFC bank (Rs.590 Crore), Axis Bank (Rs.530 Crore), ICICI bank (Rs.317 Crore), and Punjab National Bank (Rs.211 Crore).
SBI reduced its non-maintenance charge by 75% this year in March after taking feedback from various stakeholders. The decision came after severe criticism that the bank is earning more from penalising customers for not maintaining minimum balance in their bank accounts. SBI customers across metro and urban centres are required to maintain minimum average monthly balance (AMB) of Rs.3000, semi-urban areas have to maintain AMB of Rs.2000, while Rs.1000 for rural centres.
According to norms set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), banks are permitted to levy service/miscellaneous charges. Customers opening accounts under Pradhan Matri Jan Dhan Yojnaas well as Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) scheme are not required to maintain any minimum balance.
Public and private sector banks are collecting penalties for non-maintenance of minimum balance to make up for losses from bad debts.