The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its first bi-monthly monetary policy statement for 2014-15 directed banks not to impose financial penalty on the consumers in case of non-maintenance of minimum balance in their saving accounts.
RBI suggested that instead of financial penalty, banks can limit services available to those saving accounts who fail to maintain minimum balance. RBI further advised that these services can be restored whenever the balance in such accounts improves to the minimum balance level.
At present there is no unanimity among the banks while charging the customers for non-maintenance of minimum balance. For instance, State Bank of India does not levy any charge for non maintenance of the minimum balance in the savings account. Whereas, AXIS, ICICI and HDFC Bank charge 750 rupees per quarter in case of non maintenance of minimum 100000 rupees in urban centres and 5000 rupees in semi urban centres.
Besides this, RBI also directed banks to limit the liability of customers in electronic banking transactions in cases where banks fail to prove customer negligence.
RBI also instructed banks to allow borrowers to prepay floating rate term loans without any penalty.
The above steps by the RBI are aimed towards protecting consumers. Such steps are necessary to ensure financial inclusion as consumer protection is an integral part of financial inclusion.
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When: 1 April 2014