New guidelines for bank locker issued, banks’ liability to be 100 times of annual rent

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday revised the guidelines for the new and existing safe deposit locker facility in the banks.

According to the revised guidelines, which will come into effect from January 1, 2022, the banks’ liability will be 100 times that of the annual rent of the safe deposit locker in case of loss of contents of locker due to fire, theft, burglary, dacoity, among others.

The central bank is said to have framed the new guidelines taking into consideration the various developments in the area of banking and technology, nature of consumer grievances and also the feedback received from banks and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

Here’s all you need to know about the revised locker rules:

  1. The bank’s liability will be 100 times its annual rent in case of fire, theft, building collapse or frauds by bank employees.
  2. Banks will have to incorporate a clause in the locker agreement so that the hirer cannon keep anything illegal or hazardous in lockers.
  3. Banks will have to keep a branch-wise list of vacant lockers and wait-list in core banking system (CBS) or any other computerised system compliant with the cyber security framework.
  4. In case of unavailability of lockers, the banks will need to acknowledge the receipt of all applications for allotment of locker and provide a wait list number to the customers.
  5. The RBI has also detailed the compensation policy and liability of banks in the revised instructions.
  6. A board-approved policy outlining the responsibility owed by them for any loss or damage to the contents of the lockers due to their negligence will also need to be framed.
  7. The guidelines specify that banks shall not be liable for any damage and/or loss of contents of locker arising from natural calamities or Acts of God like earthquakes, floods, lightning and thunderstorm or any act that is attributable to the sole fault or negligence of the customer. However, banks need to exercise appropriate care to protect their premises from such catastrophes.
  8. To ensure prompt payment of locker rent, banks are allowed to obtain a term deposit, at the time of allotment, which would cover three years’ rent and the charges for breaking open the locker in case of such eventuality.
  9. Existing locker holders do not need to pay such term deposits, neither can the bank insist them to pay so.
  10. Banks will have the discretion to break open any locker following due procedure if the rent has not been paid by the customer for three years in a row.
  11. If locker rent is collected in advance, in the event of surrender of a locker by a customer, the proportionate amount of advance rent collected shall be refunded to the customer.

(With inputs from timesofindia)

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