RBI not to interfere in bank service charges


Hyderabad : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will not stop banks from collecting charges for various services or insist on a minimum balance, as it is the choice of the customer where to open account, Deputy Governor K.C. Chakrabarty said here Thursday.

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“This is business. We can’t interfere. We are not here to control business. We can only bring more competition,” Chakrabarty told reporters on the sidelines of a national seminar on financial inclusion.

The central bank is only asking banks to bring transparency in what they are charging and that it can ask them to drop charges if they are found unreasonable, he added.

The RBI deputy governor said customers who have money will go to those banks which insist on minimum balance of Rs.25,000 or which charge two to three times for value added services.

“We are only saying pricing should not be discriminatory or exploitative and the banks should provide minimum services. The customers should know minimum terms and conditions.”

Earlier in his address, Chakrabarty said banks were also charging for services which they were not providing, collecting pre-payment penalty and not reducing the interest rate for existing customers. He termed this as illegal, unethical and immoral.

He said having a bank account is a fundamental right of an individual and no bank can refuse opening an account.

The RBI recently asked banks to devise a basic bank account with minimum bouquet of products and services. The banks have been asked not to charge for maintaining minimum balance.

Under financial inclusion, the banks will provide a savings account with emergency credit/overdraft facility, payment services and remittances facility, a pure savings facility such as recurring deposit facility and facility of entrepreneurial credit to deserving people.