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But you can manage those fees by choosing the right bank. Brick-and-mortar banks tend to charge much higher fees and have higher minimum balance requirements. Online banks generally offer lower fees and minimum balance requirements thanks to their lower overhead. However, you should still shop around at different banks and read their fine print to know for sure.

Pay close attention to your monthly fees and the balance you must maintain. If your balance falls below the minimum for even one day, you'll pay the fee that month. Look closely at the minimum balance requirements to waive the monthly fees and then choose the bank account that you can maintain while paying the smallest amount in fees possible.

If you frequently use your bank's ATM, give careful thought to the bank you choose. Online banks typically have an ATM network, but is it convenient for you?

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Before you choose a bank, whether brick-and-mortar or online, ask about its ATM network. You may hear about networks like MoneyPass or Star.

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This refers not to the bank's name, but to the ATM network. If you use an ATM within the designated network, you avoid the out-of-network fees. If ATMs are important to you, carefully evaluate any online banks you consider. Just because they offer "free ATM transactions" doesn't mean there are machines near you. And though choosing your local brick-and-mortar bank gives you convenient access to a fee-free ATM, but what about when you're away from home?

Think about your most frequent transactions before deciding.

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Because online banks are only online, you must be comfortable making your banking transactions on your phone or computer. Most online banks are user-friendly, but you must be comfortable navigating your way around their sites. At a brick-and-mortar bank, whether you call them or go to the bank in person, you can get the assistance of a personal banker pretty fast. Your local bank may also offer the option of banking online should you decide you'd prefer that option.

If you're comfortable online and don't mind the sacrifice of personal support, though, online banks may offer better APRs. No two people have the same banking needs. Consider the questions above to make your decision. Don't get lured by the higher APRs offered by online banks and ignore the features you give up.

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Look at the big picture to decide which type of bank offers what you need. Choose the account that offers a balance of a good APR, low fees, and the banking services you'll use. Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest.

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The ancient holy river, spread out in its tranquil dignity along stone embankments considered sacred to countless generations of Indians, meanders through the seat of pilgrimage that has provided contentment and comfort to believers of all faiths. True to the inclusive vision of an antiquated Varanasi that Mark Twain thought had looked older than history, tradition, or even legend, an unusual financing venture began its journey about a decade ago from the northern bank of this centre of spirituality, with the objective of providing financial inclusion in northern India.

Eight years after it was born at the depths of chaos in Varanasi, Utkasrh Small Finance Bank raised about Rs 1, crore in deposits from well-heeled customers in the first year of its existence as a commercial bank. On the finance-raising touchstone, Utkarsh may have lived up to the initial task but much like the pan-India Ujjivan , or regional Suryoday, it failed to take banking to the bottom of the pyramid in a country where successive efforts by both large and small lenders have proved inadequate in cushioning the unbanked.

Banking Basics for Believers : Introduction to Banking and Financial Principles.

At the heart of the financial inclusion initiative was a central bank move. The other two are AU Financiers, the sole asset financing company to get the coveted licence, and Capital Local Area Bank, which was the first to begin its banking operations.

Connectivity in the rural areas is still a concern. The microfinance business, which was earlier yielding high returns, plunged into losses with borrowers faltering on repayments. Still they are recovering quickly than the big PSBs, which were affected by project loans, with about Rs 9.

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The publicly-listed Ujjivan Financial Services, the holding firm for the bank, was back in black in the December quarter although its peer Equitas Holdings slipped into red. A few other unlisted ones may face losses too as they will be pressed to write off loans and make provisions against them that turned sticky when demonetisation disrupted cash flows. Janalakshmi, promoted by former Citibank executive Ramesh Ramanathan, was hit the hardest and could not begin banking operations even after receiving the final licence on April 29 last year. It had to raise about Rs 1, crore to cover the losses.

And with every private bank now scurrying for the rural deposit pie, it will be a tough market out there unless somebody has an extremely novel proposition. YES Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank, the two licence winners in the beginning of the millennium, took more than a decade for their low-cost deposits to stabilise and even now they have to pay a few percentage points more on interest rate than peers.

Bandhan Bank is a study in contrast. It managed to raise a whopping Rs 16, crore of deposits in the first year which includes savings from its existing grassroots customers. For small finance banks , the first year was spent on stabilising the operations. More so, as digital penetration and use of handheld devices make customer acquisition easier for all even without having physical presence in the interiors. Private sector IndusInd Bank and RBL Bank are engaging microfinance companies as their business correspondences to mobilise low-cost deposit from rural catchments.

We should not be placed on the same platform with the bigger ones. They de-grew their micro loan portfolio as many of them stopped lending to the troubled areas.

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Small banks are looking to diversify in the MSME and affordable housing space to rein in costs and reduce concentration risks, and they will have competition from other non-banking finance companies that have had a free run. Loans of higher ticket size will reduce the cost of operation for these newer entities. But as rates are set to tighten, their margins will be under pressure. The joint liability lending model has to disappear and a lot of our existing loans have to move into individual lending as we intend to grow multiple relations with our customers.

Capital Local Area Bank, which had a limited business in the contiguous districts of Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur in Punjab for the initial 13 years, is now expanding in Delhi and Haryana as a bank. Experience had taught the MFIs that the choice of remaining confined in a niche market can be suicidal. To grow beyond core geographies, Utkarsh is adopting the business correspondence model. This may turn out to be a winning formula for all, helping smaller MFIs grow off-balance sheet business without equity expansion while the small banks can focus on diversifying beyond microfinance.

Having survived the turbulent first year, there may not be any immediate survival risk for them, but will they be good enough to fulfil the inclusive banking mandate?