it is often difficult for the common people to get a bank locker. Despite waiting for years, lockers are not available to people to keep their valuables. In order to solve this problem and to bring transparency in the allocation of lockers, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued new rules related to the bank lockers.
Customers will be issues waitlist number for bank lockers
According to the new rules of RBI, applications for a locker will be taken from all the customers and for transparency, the customers will be issued a waitlist number. The central bank has directed banks to maintain a branch-wise list of vacant lockers as well as a wait-list for the purpose of allotment of lockers and ensure transparency in the allotment of lockers.
When will RBI new locker rules come into effect?
The revised instructions will come into effect from 1 January 2022. “In order to facilitate customers making informed choices, banks shall maintain a branch-wise list of vacant lockers as well as a wait-list in Core Banking System (CBS) or any other computerized system compliant with Cyber Security Framework issued by RBI, for the purpose of allotment of lockers and ensure transparency in allotment of lockers,” the RBI said.
In February 2021, the Supreme Court had directed the RBI to lay down regulations within six months mandating the steps to be taken by banks with respect to locker facility.
Also, banks can allow lockers to their non-banking customers after completing the KYC. Banks will have the right to collect term deposits in lieu of locker rent, but banks cannot keep the necessary conditions relating to the term deposits.
The RBI said that banks shall incorporate a clause in the locker agreement that the locker-hirer/s shall not keep anything illegal or any hazardous substance in the Safe Deposit locker. “If the bank suspects the deposit of any illegal or hazardous substance by any customer in the safe deposit locker, the bank shall have the right to take appropriate action against such customer as it deems fit and proper in the circumstances,” it added.
New RBI locker rules on settlement of claims
The RBI said the banks shall have a Board approved policy for settlement of claims. It has also asked the banks to formulate policy for nomination and release of contents of safety lockers/safe custody articles to the nominee and protection against the notice of claims of other persons.
“In order to ensure that the articles left in safe custody and contents of lockers are returned to the genuine nominee, as also to verify the proof of death, banks shall devise their own claim formats, in terms of applicable laws and regulatory guidelines,” it said. Banks shall settle the claims and shall release contents of the locker to the survivor(s) / nominee(s) within a period not exceeding 15 days from the date of receipt of the claim subject to the production of proof of death of the depositor, the RBI added.
On compensation/liability of damages
“The banks shall put in place a detailed Board approved policy outlining the responsibility owed by them for any loss or damage to the contents of the lockers due to their negligence as banks owe a separate duty of care to exercise due diligence in maintaining and operating their locker or safety deposit systems,” the RBI guideline says.
Damages arising due to natural calamities
The banks will not be liable for any damages arising from natural calamities or acts of gods like earthquakes, floods, thunderstorms, etc. or any sole fault or negligence of customers.
Damages arising from events like fire, theft
In case of loss/damage arising from events like fire, theft, burglary, dacoity, robbery, building collapse or in case of fraud committed by the employees of the bank, the banks’ liability shall be for an amount equivalent to one hundred times the prevailing annual rent of the safe deposit locker, the central bank said in the revised guidelines.