No Bank Charges is a campaign to demand the removal of all charges on banking services for savings account holders to resist the financial exploitation of the public in the name of imposing arbitrary and reckless bank charges. Banks were providing various banking services to savings account holders without any charges, compensating them with the profit made from the lending of the loans. But in the recent past, large scale loans are not being repaid by the corporate sector and becoming non-performing assets (NPA). And to compensate the losses incurred from bad loans, banks have started charging savings account holders including all those services which had no charges earlier.
Customers are not only being charged for non-maintenance of minimum balance in their accounts, they are also being charged for cash withdrawals and deposits from their own account at bank branches, cash withdrawal from ATMs, cash deposit at CDMs(cash deposit machines), balance inquiry and mini-statements from ATMs, annual charge on debit cards, issuance charge of debit card, regeneration of ATM PIN from bank branches, SMS alerts, change of address or mobile number, changes in KYC related documents.
The rising non-performing assets is one of the main reasons for the ongoing banking crisis. Large loans were issued without any due diligence and proper assessment of the projects. Corporates and industrialists were given flexibility for the repayment of the loans in the forms of the restructuring of the debts. For a very long time, the risks associated with these loans, their eventual failure in paying back the interest and the loan were kept hidden. The aggressive lending practices of the banks, frequent changes in banking regulation & policies, wilful defaulters, loan frauds, corruption in some cases and an overall slowdown in the global economy have all added to the sudden rise of bad loans.
Apart from rising NPAs, banks are also facing issues from multiple fronts. Banks are forced to provide multiple non-banking services and welfare schemes of the government which add an extra burden on banks’ resources. Since 2014, 32 crore Jan Dhan accounts were opened in the name of financial inclusion, half of which are either inoperative or without any balance in them. The increased operational cost due to these accounts has further led to a dip in banks’ profits. The linking of bank accounts with the Aadhar has also put a huge burden on the banking resources.
The loss incurred to banks because of the defaults by corporates and the other reasons stated above is being passed on to the depositors in the form of bank charges. These charges levied on basic banking services are hurting the poor and marginalised people the most. They are the ones who are unable to maintain a monthly minimum balance and have to withdraw money from ATMs in small amounts as per their need. All the banks have put a limit on a number of free ATM transactions and are charging Rs. 20 (plus tax) for ATM transactions beyond that. Customers are also being charged for non-financial transactions like balance enquiry and mini-statements from ATMs. In areas where there are not enough ATM machines or cash is not maintained in them, they are forced to transact through bank branches. For these cash transactions, customers have to pay an amount ranging from Rs. 10 to Rs. 150 (irrespective of the home branch or non-home branch). When ATM of own bank is not functioning or out of cash, people are charged for transactions through other bank’s ATMs. These charges on banking services are not only eating into hard-earned savings of common people, but they are also unjustifiable in the sense that it is the savings of the people which banks use for lending purposes and at the same time those same people are being penalised for being part of the banking system.
Actions against the bank charges planned at:
March 15, 2019, Delhi: Public Meeting titled Rebuilding from an Economic Earthquake
- Press Release: Political Parties and CSOs Criticise Modi Government on its Economic Performance
- Photos: https://www.fanindia.net/photos/
March 16, 2019, Bhopal: बैंकों द्वारा वसूले जा रहे मनमाने शुल्कों पर जनसंवाद
March 18, 2019, Mumbai: National Hawker Federation (NHF’s) meeting on the Bank Charges at Jogeshwari.
- Photos: https://www.fanindia.net/photos/
April 11, 2019, Chennai: Consumer Guidance Seminar on No Bank Charges
April 14, 2019, Delhi: Outreach programme on the occasion of Dr BR Ambedkar’s birth anniversary