I have had a savings account with State Bank of India, Palace Orchards Personal Banking Branch (Bangalore) since the last four years. The following is my review.
– Being a nationalised bank, it is a reliable place to park your money, and you can trust that your money will be safe no matter what.
– India’s largest ATM network. Wherever you go in India, two things you will find for sure are: a Maruti service station and a SBI ATM!
– Good Internet Banking site. Though not as comprehensive as ICICI Bank’s netbanking site, SBI’s netbanking site is pretty impressive. It has most of the features that are essential, such as third party transfer (both inter- and intra-bank), Visa money transfer, mutual funds purchase, demat section, opening fixed deposits online, bill payment, demand draft request, etc.
– Minimum balance at regular branches is just Rs. 1000 even today! This is negligible compared to the minimum balance of private banks. At Personal Banking Branches (PBB), it is Rs. 5000 which is still ok.
– Another benefit is that if you have a PPF account with SBI, you can link it to your netbanking user ID and view it from your netbanking account. You can even transfer money from your linked savings account to the PPF account within seconds.
– It is easier for SBI account holders to get lockers at SBI. And everyone knows SBI lockers are cheaper than any private bank. Currently, the rates are Rs. 1000, Rs. 2500 and Rs. 5000 for small, medium and large lockers respectively (compared to ICICI Bank’s Rs. 4000, Rs. 8000 and Rs. 17,000!). Along with that, we need to take a fixed deposit of Rs. 30,000, Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 1,00,000 respectively. The FDs can be closed down at any time, which is advantageous as compared to private banks.
– SBI pass book can be used as a valid address proof for applying for other Govt. documents like passport, etc.
– PBBs are open on Sundays too, which is good for working people who are busy on other days.
– Online customer care is good though it may be a bit slow. At least they don’t try to mislead and cheat like some private banks (don’t know about credit card division).
– As with any Govt. institution, expect bureaucratic and slightly unhelpful attitude and slow decision making in SBI. I experienced it while opening my PPF account.
– Sometimes they can be careless too. When I opened my account, they made a spelling mistake while entering my name. Later when I pointed it to them, they asked me if I had entered it correctly in the form! And worst part is they forgot to update it! I had to go a second time to remind them.
However, all said and done, I can see that nowadays they are improving their service. When I went recently to take a locker, I was given royal treatment by PSU bank standards! The staff were very courteous and helpful. Also I saw that home loan takers were also well treated.