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Addressing a press conference today, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that charges for not maintaining 'Average Monthly Balance' (AMB) in accounts will be waived for three months. At the moment this will apply for three months, Sitharaman informed. It will be applicable for all banks. This means that an account holder would be permitted to bring down balances to almost zero without banks charging fee for the same. Various banks have prescribed minimum balances, which an account holder is required to maintain, failing which, a charge is levied.
Country's largest lender State Bank of India on 11 March waived maintenance of minimum balance requirements for all savings bank accounts. "The charges on maintaining AMB are now waived off on all 44.51 crore SBI savings bank accounts," the lender had said in a statement. SBI savings account customers' had to maintain an AMB of ₹3,000, ₹2,000 and ₹1,000 in metro, semi urban and rural areas, respectively. Bank used to levy a penalty of ₹5 to ₹15 plus taxes on non-maintenance of AMB.
The government has also waived charges on ATM cash withdrawals from other banks. As per the decision announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, debit card holders, who withdraw cash from any bank ATM, can do it free of charge for the next three months." ...so you may have a debit card from a bank, a particular bank, but you will now be allowed, without additional charges, to draw cash from any other bank's ATM for the next three months," the Finance Minister said.
Anurag Thakur, who was also present at the press conference said that the decisions on ATM withdrawal and minimum balance have been taken to discourage people from going to bank branches,