Kochi: Leading banks in the nation, including SBI, are recorded to be earning crores by squeezing the weak section of the society. A study by IIT Bombay discovered that SBI imposes high charges for certain services provided to Zero Balance or Basic Savings Bank (BSBD) accounts. SBI charges Rs 17.70 for each more than four withdrawals from zero balance accounts. IIT Bombay said this was not appropriate.
300 crore in five years
SBI is imposing service charges illegally from ordinary people. During the five-year period from 2015 to 2020, the bank collected Rs 300 crore from 12 crores BSBDA holders. Of this, Rs 72 crore was illegally obtained in 2018-19 alone and Rs 158 crore in 2019-20, according to a study by IIT Bombay Professor Ashish Das.
RBI instructions have not been followed
BSBDA charges as per RBI guidelines up to September 2013. According to RBI guidelines, BSBDA account holders are permitted to withdraw more than four times a month. At the Bank’s discretion, the bank may not charge for this. But, in violation of RBI rules, SBI charges more than four times the withdrawal fee from BSBDA account holders. As early as 2013, SBI was violating Reserve Bank rules and pricing holders more for each debit transaction.
Even digital transactions like NEFT and IMPS charge as high as Rs 17.70. The study scrutinized this as a violation of Reserve Bank measures. And on the one hand, the country was strongly supporting digital payment systems while on the other hand, SBI was discouraging people. According to the study, the bank charges customers Rs 17.70 per digital transaction.
Not only SBI but also PNB
Apart from SBI, Punjab National Bank (PNB), the country’s second-largest public sector bank, has also levied additional charges on customers. During the period from 2015 to 2020, PNB raised about Rs 9.9 crore. The bank has increased about Rs 3.9 crore from BSBD accounts alone.