State Bank of India has clarified that one could convert his/her Savings Bank (SB) account to a Basic Savings Bank Deposit (BSBD) account to avoid penalty for not maintaining average monthly balance (AMB).

The bank has given the clarification in response to a report in Business Line dated August 4 highlighting a total penalty of over Rs. 11,500 crores collected by public and private sector banks from customers for not maintaining AMB in the last four years.

SBI alone collected over Rs.2,400 crores during 2017-18. Now, SBI has said that SB accounts, such as PMJDY/BSBD, and of pensioners/ minors/ social security benefit holders are exempted from the AMB requirement, and that charges would not be recovered from these accounts.

The bank has around 42.5 crore SB accounts, of which almost 40 per cent are under the exempted category. Customers also have the option to convert their existing SB accounts to BSBD accounts, free of cost.

It also reiterated that effective April 2018, the AMB requirement has been reduced up to 40 per cent, keeping in view the feedback from various stakeholders. Similarly, the bank has steeply reduced charges for non-maintenance of AMB up to 70 per cent in metro/urban and semi-urban categories. Charges in rural markets were also reduced by up to 75 per cent.

It claimed that its charges for non-maintenance of AMB is among the lowest in the industry.

It charges between Rs. 5-15 (plus GST) for various levels of shortfall in different areas. Its customers are required to maintain an average monthly balance of Rs3,000 for SB accounts in metros and urban areas, RS.2,000 in semi-urban and Rs. 1,000 in rural areas.

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