Opening a new savings bank account or even maintaining an existing one with few banks especially foreign ones such as HSBC and Citibank could soon be out of bounds for retail customers.
With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deregulating interest rates on savings accounts, not only have these banks raised their minimum deposit levels for savings account but customers would also be required to park funds in other instruments such as fixed deposits. In case the minimum balance is not maintained, these banks have started levying a fee, causing much inconvenience to customers.For instance, a savings bank account holder with HSBC would be required to maintain a minimum monthly average balance of Rs 75,000 against Rs 25,000 required earlier, and a minimum of Rs 25,000 in a savings bank deposit. For Citibank customers, the minimum requirement that a savings bank account holder is required to maintain is over Rs 2 lakh. These norms, however, do not apply to salary accounts.
"This has nothing to do with deregulation of interest rates of savings bank account, the move was brought in before the RBI decided to deregulate it," an official at HSBC said.
The norm would be applicable to existing and new customers, a bank spokesman told HT.
Citibank officials did not respond to HT queries.
Customers, however, are dissatisfied. "When I opened my account with the bank, the requirements were different and suddenly it cannot change to this extent," Amit Bhargava, a customer with HSBC told HT.