If you are a customer of Punjab National Bank (PNB) and are not maintaining the minimum stipulated balance in your savings bank account, you may be heading for trouble. The bank has decided to close dormant accounts. An account becomes dormant when no transaction is carried out on it for at least two years.
The bank has also decided to close all accounts in which minimum balance is not maintained. The bank has set a deadline of 30 September for customers to replenish their accounts if required.
PNB is the second largest government-owned bank in the country and has about 60 million accounts, including savings account. The total amount of unclaimed deposits at the end of 2009 stood at Rs 1,360 crore, according to data provided by the Reserve Bank of India. Of this, PNB has a share of Rs 160 crore.
It has been noticed that accounts with zero balance and dormant accounts have been the target of frauds.
“Frauds may be committed even in operative accounts but it has come to our notice that such frauds are happening more by using zero balance or dormant accounts. The reason is that in case of inactive accounts the holders do not come to know immediately that a fraud has been committed as they do not track the account regularly,” says B.L. Gupta, general manager, PNB.
On the contrary, if a fraud is committed using an active account, customers come to know almost instantly and remedial steps are taken well in time by both the bank and customers.
Moreover, maintaining such accounts increases the overall cost for the bank. “Banks need to maintain a database of dormant accounts, too, which increases the cost. Also, it requires manpower which can be utilized elsewhere,” says Ranjan Dhawan, chief general manager, PNB.
For all kinds of savings bank accounts, except those in rural branches, the average minimum balance stipulated by PNB is Rs 1,000 per quarter. The limit is Rs 500 for accounts in rural areas. If your PNB account has anything less than this, replenish it as soon as possible.
In case you do not wish to bank with PNB or can’t maintain the minimum balance, close the account, especially if you have excess (more than the stipulated balance) money parked in the account. The bank continues to deposit interest in your account even if it has been inoperative for some years. By not utilizing the accrued interest, you will actually lose out on your savings.
To activate a dormant accounts, just visit your bank branch and submit an application. Alternatively, just carry out any banking transaction.