Not keeping minimum bank balance? Private banks may charge you more than Rs. 600

As State Bank of India gears up to charge customers for not maintaining a minimum balance of Rs 5,000 for branches in six metros, private banks such as HDFC Bank are already charging their customers up to Rs 600.

In an interview to The Economic Times, Managing Director of the HDFC Bank Aditya Puri said, "For example, we get a Rs 10,000 savings bank deposit. I have to pay 4% interest, 4% I have to keep as CRR. I earn around Rs 200 in one year. In this Rs 200, what all you want? Free ATM you want, no cheque book charge you want, no cash handling charge you want."

"If State Bank of India says that it's important to keep a minimum balance of Rs 5,000, kya bola hai bichari ne (What has Arundhati Bhattacharya said)? How much do they earn and lose? Keep on punishing banks and then you will say there are no NPA writedowns," Puri added.
For savings account in metro cities, HDFC Bank may charge you as much as 600 rupees for not maintaining the minimum balance. With service Tax and other cess, the amount is more than Rs 600.

The minimum balance limit in case of HDFC Bank is Rs 10,000 for urban branches and Rs 5,000 for semi-urban branches.

According to new rules announced by SBI, account holders will have to maintain the monthly balance or else they will invite a penalty ranging from Rs 20 (rural branches) to Rs 100 in (metro cities).

In metropolitan areas, there will be a charge of Rs 100 plus service tax, if the balance falls below 75 per cent of the MAB of Rs 5,000. If the shortfall is 50 per cent or less of the MAB, then the bank will charge Rs 50 plus service tax.

However, the government has asked SBI to reconsider it's decision to impose a penalty on non-maintenance of minimum balance in accounts from April 1 onwards.

SBI has also imposed restrictions on withdrawals of cash from its branches as well as ATMs. These will attract charges after certain specified limits. Some private banks, like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, have started charging a minimum amount of Rs 150 per transaction for cash deposits and withdrawals beyond four free transactions in a month.

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