Savings account rates to stay at 4%: HDFC Bank

Last Updated: Sun, Jul 15, 2012 11:31 hrs

Terming the impact of RBI's decision to deregulate savings accounts rates last year as "insignificant" for HDFC Bank, Managing Director and Chief Executive of the bank Aditya Puri has said depositors should be content with 4% interest offered by larger lenders.

"The deregulation of the savings account has not had a substantial impact on our growth," Puri told shareholders at the AGM over the weekend here.

"The savings account is a transaction account and there is a cost attached to it. So, four% rate is fair and that's why you see most of the larger banks have not changed it," he said.

Puri further said only a couple of banks have increased their pricing because they were not getting traction on the savings deposits front.

Following RBI's move last October to lift the interest rate cap of 4% on savings account, a few lenders like YES Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Saraswat Bank increased their offerings up to seven%, giving rise to expectations that there will be a flight of deposits to these lenders.

However, bigger banks, including State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, which enjoy a very high%age of the cheaper Casa (current and savings account) deposits, maintained a status quo keeping the savings rates unchanged.

HDFC Bank's Casa share in the total base fell to 46% as of June 30, versus 49.1% a year ago on a lower growth in current account deposits.

However, there was a growth of 18.4% on savings deposits to Rs 76,674 crore, according to Q1 numbers.

Puri said economic feasibility requires a balance of at least Rs 7,000 in every savings account as a host of services are to be offered free of charge to the account-holder.

He recommended the fixed deposit route to all the depositors who want a larger interest rate on their deposits.

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