New Delhi: Five public sector banks, including SBI and PNB, charge customers for SMS alerts even though the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hasn't issued any guidelines in this regard.
"As per information received from public sector banks, IDBI Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India, State Bank of Patiala and Vijaya Bank are currently charging their customers for SMS alerts," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
In March 2011, the RBI had issued guidelines for banks to send online alerts to customers for all types of transactions, irrespective of the amount, involving the usage of cards.
"RBI has reported that it has not issued any guideline on charging by banks for providing these alerts to their customers," the Minister said.
He also said "no proposal is under consideration of the government to withdraw the charges levied by banks, for this purpose."
Chidambaram said it is not compulsory for an account holder to provide a mobile number. If the mobile number is given and the customer wants SMS facility, the bank provides the alerts.
While SBI started charging for SMS alerts in April, PNB and SBP imposed it from July. The other two PSU banks have been levying a fee for alerts for the past few years.
Replying to another query, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena said eight PSU banks, including SBI, IDBI Bank and Bank of India, were found to have diluted their holding in the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI).
The organisations were advised to fix responsibility for the stake dilution in IFCI, against the government's directives, Meena said.
IDBI Bank has been asked to seek explanations from all officers involved in the decision to dilute its holding in IFCI, he said.
The shareholding of government institutions in IFCI needs to be maintained at a level above 51 per cent.
First Published: Friday, August 23, 2013, 16:18