A whooping amount of Rs 5,000 crore is collected by 21 public sector banks along with three major private banks collectively for not maintaining minimum balance in 2017-18 as per the new data released by the banks. The reports is presented in the Lok Sabha by minister Shiv Pratap Shukla.
The huge amount of Rs 5,000 crore collected due to the penalties imposed on the opening of 30.8 crore basic saving accounts opened under Jan Dhan Yojana as they failed to maintain the minimum balance.
The major player in this category includes the largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) who collected almost half of the total amount collected (Rs 2433.67 crore) followed by private bank HDFC bank who penalise its customer with Rs 590.84 crore.
Other banks in the row includes Axis Bank who collects Rs 520.12 crore while ICICI bank charged Rs 317.6 crore to its customer. As per the reports, over the last four years, banks collected Rs 11,500 crores for not maintaining minimum balance.
The amount collected by the three private sector banks is 40% of the total penalty collected. The fine imposed on the costumers were allowed by Reserve Bank of India on July 1, 2015 on a master circular titled as “Master Circular on Customer Services in Banks”.
The circular says, “At the time of opening the accounts, banks should inform their customers in a transparent manner the requirement of maintaining the minimum balance and levying of charges, etc., if the minimum balance is not maintained”.
It added, “Any charge levied subsequently should be transparently made known to all depositors in advance with one month’s notice. The banks should inform, at least one month in advance, the existing account holders of any change in the prescribed manner”.
However, Government is being criticised for allowing the banks to impose fine on those who step into formal banking system as they find it hard to maintain minimum balance in their account.