Equitas Small Finance Bank offers 7% interest on zero-balance savings account

Chennai-based Equitas Small Finance Bank, which listed on stock exchanges earlier this month, unveiled a new type of zero-balance savings bank account with a whopping 7% interest rate.

At present, almost no bank offers an interest rate of 7% on savings bank deposits, and many banks offer less than 7% even for fixed deposits.

However, players like Equitas Small Finance Bank — who have a background in microfinance lending — do tend to offer higher interest rates than ‘regular’ banks.

The new kind of savings bank account, branded Eva, is available only to women customers, and also comes with a “free health check-up and unlimited teleconsultation with women doctors, gynecologists and mental health experts”, the Chennai-based bank said.

The new account is available to all categories of women, including salaried, homemakers, businesswomen, senior citizens and transwomen as
well as non-resident women.

“The product is based on the concept of relationship value, and customers will not be charged any non-maintenance fees,” the bank said.

Most banks in India charge penalties and fines if the customer fails to maintain a minimum balance, which varies from Rs 100 to Rs 10,000, depending on the bank.

In addition to the above features, Eva customers will also get lower interest rates on their gold loans from the company, as well as a discount of 25-50% discounts on lockers.

The company, with its roots as a micro-finance lender, likely has most of its customers in the form of women.

“Equitas Small Finance Bank has a past filled with moments of empowering people especially women from all sections of society through products and provisions that help them become informed, involved and independent with their financial decisions,” said Murali Vaidyanathan, President & Country Head – Branch Banking, Liabilities, Product & Wealth.

Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited is the largest SFB in India in terms of number of banking outlets, and the second largest SFB in India in terms of assets under management and total deposits in Fiscal 2019.

As of September 30, 2019, it had 853 banking outlets/branches and 322 ATMs across 15 states and union territories in India.

Small finance banks primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to unserved and underserved sections including small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.

They can also undertake other non-risk sharing simple financial services activities, not requiring any commitment of own fund, such as distribution of mutual fund units, insurance products, pension products, etc. with the prior approval of the RBI and after complying with the requirements of the sectoral regulator for such products.