Unreasonable bank charges: Call for RBI intervention

Posted online comments.
My response:
Unreasonable charges

This refers to your editorial “Paying the price” (Business Line, January 8). Banks which are dependent on the trust reposed by depositors should be extra cautious while doing anything that can affect the sentiments of their clientele including depositors. In regard to levying service charges and penalties of various types including the one for failure to keep minimum balances, this caution is conspicuous by its absence in both public sector and private sector banks.
Ever since the deregulation of lending and deposit rates long ago, the track record of banks has not been much encouraging.
While RBI Governors have sometimes lamented and at times expressed desperation about banks being fast in increasing lending rates and slow in passing on benefits of rate cuts, the present trend of sweeping out small savers’  balances in their accounts to make good losses elsewhere under one pretext or the other is deplorable. Such moves will chase away savers from banking system. Banks should be aware that social media is working overtime to spread unhealthy rumors about any reform initiative and negative news about unreasonable bank charges will give credibility to such rumors.  Such negative publicity will have a long term adverse impact on the already sagging trustworthiness of the Banking System.

At this stage, perhaps a clear message from RBI asking banks not to meddle with prudent norms of transparency in charging for services may go a long way in restoring trust.
M G Warrier, Mumbai

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