ICICI hikes service charges

It is a bad news. With everyone seems to be eating up your income, this is another setback to the banking customers. Private banks like ICICI & UTI have decided to increase the charges for services like ATM cash withdrawl & if customers fail to maintain the quarterly balance (Rs 5000). This will be applicable from July 1. ICICI has also increased charges for PIN regeneration and ATM usage of non-partner banks. ICICI Bank customers, who fail to maintain QAB, will now be able to avail of only five free ATM transactions as against the earlier six and thereafter they would be charged Rs 50 per transaction instead of Rs 25 per transaction earlier. According to banks the move is made to penalise customers who do not maintain the necessary balance or issues unnecessary cheques (penalty increased for cheque bounce). Currently there is no fixed guidelines set by RBI for "how much banks can levy such charges?" and usually this is fixed by the competition in the market. With the increase in education cess (3%) and the service tax of 12%, the effective income tax any way has shot up. With small things like ATM transactions now attracting huge fees, customers now have to rethink befire using banking services everytime.

Home Loans Squeezed

In another news, the FM has directed state-run banks to go slow on personal and home loans higher than 20 lakhs. With the rising interest on home loans, it anyway has become extremely difficult for individuals to dream of owning a decent house. So this is definitely a big blow to everyone who wants to own a house. Considering that the home rates are skyrocketing in metro cities like Banglore, Hyderabad and Delhi, dreaming about your own few hundred square feet has become more difficult.

Although the step is taken to curb inflation and ease out industries which are overheating, but I think the limit of 20 lakhs is just a bit low to even filter out average buyer. So the only choice for an aspiring owner is to visit the nearest private bank, which now can muscle around with difficult terms and conditions (which anyway are too convoluted). It looks like bad news all around.

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