New Delhi– The country’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday clarified that the number of accounts closed in the bank is higher this year due to the merger and it has nothing to do with maintenance of minimum balance.

“On account of the merger of SBI’s associate banks with SBI in April 2017, where the customers were having multiple accounts with different associate banks and SBI, the number of accounts closed during the year is relatively high,” the bank said in a statement.

“Customers who are not able to maintain average monthly balance have the option to get their Regular Savings Bank accounts converted to BSBD accounts free of charge. Effective April 1, 2018, the service charges for non-maintenance of average monthly balance have been reduced by 75 per cent which has been very well appreciated by customers of the bank,” it added.

The SBI on March 13 had substantially reduced charges for non-maintenance of average monthly balance (AMB) in savings accounts, which would benefit 25 crore bank customers.

The revised charges would be effective from April 1, 2018. This step was taken keeping in view the feedback from various stakeholders, it said.

Refuting media reports that the SBI has closed 41.16 lakh accounts after introduction of the requirement of AMB, the bank said: “The bank would like to clarify that these accounts have not been closed suo-motu.”

It said the SBI has 41 crore savings bank accounts. During the current financial year, 2.10 crore savings bank accounts have been opened, of which 1.10 crore accounts are Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana accounts, which are exempted from the average monthly balance requirement. (IANS)