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On a shocking note, the State Bank of India has decreased the lending rates and at the same time, hiked the charges for those, who are not maintaining a minimum balance. The authority also targeted the services like cheque books and lockers. These sudden changes are going to affect millions of account holders. The higher charges will be applied to those account holders who have five associate lenders and Bharatiya Mahila Bank, which merged into SBI last month. It is a well-known fact that with this merging scheme, the SBI customer base has increased to Rs. 37 crore.

From April 1st, the SBI is going to cut its base rate by 15 basis points (bps) to 9.10 % from 9.25%, due to the low-cost deposits. Besides this, it is heard that various banks were also planning to follow the footsteps of SBI and to raise charges on different schemes and services being provided by them.

The monthly average balance (MAB) has increased by the bank to Rs. 5,000 for branches in the six metros. The bank made compulsory that the savings account holders in the bank should maintain a monthly balance or they will be supposed to get a penalty of Rs. 20 rural branches to Rs. 100 in metro cities. Till the end of March, the monthly average balance (MAB) for a savings bank account was Rs 500 without the facility of a cheque book and Rs 1,000 with cheque book across the country. From the next financial year, the bank has decided to fix separate MABs for metro, urban, semi-urban and rural areas.

The monthly average balance for metro branches is raised to Rs 5,000 and penalty for non-maintenance of minimum balance is going to be between Rs 50 and Rs 100. For urban and semi-urban branches, the MAB is around Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 respectively. For rural branches, the minimum balance fixed at Rs 1,000. If anyone breaches MAB, then they will pay the penalty between Rs. 20 and Rs. 50. The bank made it clear that these new rates will be effective from April 1 are not going to applicable on Surabhi, Basic Savings Bank and PM Jan Dhan Yojana accounts.

Apart from this, the bank has increased the locker rent and curtailed some free locker usage in a year. After usage of 12 times, the customer has to pay Rs 100 plus service tax applicable for visiting the locker. Regarding the cheques, for current accounts, the first 50 cheques are free in a financial year, and after that, it will cost Rs 3 per cheque. Approximately, 25 leaf cheque book costs around Rs 75 plus service tax and 50 leaf chequebook cost is Rs 150 excluding the service tax. The bank now charges Rs. 20 to open fee including enrollment for savings account among other various charges that the bank has raised. For example, if one maintains an amount of 25,000 in your SBI savings account, then that particular customer can use ATM unlimited number of time. However, as prescribed by RBI, the charges of ATM usage over allowed five times remains same.