RBI Orders Banks To Create Waiting List For Bank Lockers; New Policy Unveiled
The RBI has called for banks to keep a branch-wise list of vacant lockers along with a wait-list for allotment of lockers.
Banks were also directed to ensure transparency in allotment of lockers.
These instructions will come into effect from January 1, 2022.
Banks would have to adhere to these instructions so that customers can make informed choices.
The customers would be provided with a wait list number if there are no lockers available.
Customers would also be given a copy of the locker agreement in duplicate signed by both parties so that the customer is aware of their rights and responsibilities.
The original copy would remain with the bank’s branch in which the concerned locker is located.
Those who have applied for locker facility and are fully compliant with the CDD (Customer Due Diligence) criteria may be offered facilities of safe deposit lockers/ safe custody article subject to on-going compliance.
This applies to customers who have no banking relationship with the locker’s bank.
The locker applicants will be prohibited from keeping any illegal or any hazardous substance in the Safe Deposit locker.
If they are suspected of doing so, the bank has the right to take appropriate action.
The bank is also empowered to collect a “Term Deposit” (TD) upon allotment of a locker.
Term Deposit To Be Paid By Customers
This fee would cover three years’ rent and the charges for breaking open the locker.
The TD is also a safeguard for banks in cases where the locker-hirer neither operates the locker nor pays its rent.
However, those with existing lockers or having satisfactory operative accounts will not have to pay the deposit.
Banks will also have a Board-approved agreement for safe deposit lockers.
They may adopt the model locker agreement as framed by Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
Banks will have to ensure that no unfair terms or conditions serving to protect their interests are present in their locker agreements.
Banks can also renew their locker agreements with existing locker customers by January 1, 2023.
Coming to the matter of security, banks will have to keep CCTV footage of the entry and the exit for at least 180 days compulsorily.
The lockers will also have to be reinforced so as to be able to take damage dealt by water or fire damage.
Compensation And Liability Of Damages
Banks can no longer remove themselves from the responsibility owed to customers when locker security is compromised.
Banks will have to compensate affected customers an amount up to 100 times the rent of the locker in case of loss of locker content due to fire, theft, burglary, dacoity.
They will also have to inform about every operation related to the locker on the customer’s registered mobile number and email.
In Events Of Locker Relocation
Shifting, merger, closure or transfer of lockers must be informed to the public in advance via public notice in two newspapers (including one local daily in vernacular language).
The affected customers will also have to be informed at least 2 months in advance.