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Friday, 3 March 2017

Even after Rs.13,933 crore and Rs.8,478 crore of profit, HDFC and ICICI want to charge you more, to take out your own money!

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In a move that will result in account holders of banks -

 Including HDFC and ICICI - having to pay more, cash transactions above the free limit of four in a month from the home branch, will attract a processing fee of Rs 150.

 The move is likely to severely hit the middle-class as many more banks are likely to follow suit and implement such charges.
While banks argue that it is a ‘push towards digital transactions’, questions are being raised as to why banks need to enforce such a heavy charge despite banks such as HDFC and ICICI making profits in the last four quarters amounting to over thousands of crores. Here are the profit numbers for HDFC bank in the last four quarters: Rs 3,865 cr in quarter ending December 2016, Rs 3,455 cr in quarter ending September 2016, Rs 3,238 cr in quarter ending June 2016 and Rs 3,374 cr in quarter ending March 2016. ICICI bank has seen profits as follows: Rs 2,441 cr in the quarter ending December 2016 , Rs 3,102 cr in the quarter ending September 2016, Rs 2,232 cr in the quarter ending June 2016 and Rs 701 cr in the quarter ending March 2016. HDFC’s cumulative profit for calendar year (CY) 2016 was Rs.13,933.79 crore. Meanwhile, ICICI made cumulative profits of Rs.8,478.33 crore during CY 2016.
Interestingly, with regard to ICICI bank, the charge was already in effect since January as the decision was taken before the demonetisation move. According to details on ICICI Bank website, there will be no charge for first four transactions a month at branches in home city while Rs.5 per thousand rupees would be charged thereafter subject to a minimum of Rs.150 in the same month.
Moreover, ATMs have also reintroduced the withdrawal charge which was taken off following the demonetisation move. At a time when the public was recovering from demonetisation and cash crunch, it seems these banks could’ve done without imposing this levy on customers.
What is left to be seen now is whether public sector banks also follow suit and implement the same. Will the government step in and ask banks to withdraw the hefty charge? Or will we be forced to pay such a charge in a forced push towards the Union government’s Digital India campaign.

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