Taking into consideration the various developments in the area of banking and technology, nature of consumer grievances and the feedback received from banks, the Reserve Bank of India has issued revised guidelines for locker/safe custody facility. In a notification issued from Mumbai today, RBI said the new guidelines will be effective from 1st January 2022 and be applicable to new as well as existing lockers.
Accordingly, banks will have to maintain a branch-wise list of vacant lockers and a wait-list to ensure transparency. Banks would also need to adopt the model locker agreement to be framed by the Indian Banking Association that will incorporate a clause prohibiting the customer to keep illegal or hazardous items in bank lockers.
While the RBI has clarified that banks cannot be liable for loss caused by natural calamities, they must take all steps to protect their premises from such catastrophes. It added that the bank’s liability in case of incidents like fire, robbery or fraud committed by an employee will be one hundred times the prevailing annual rent of the locker.
RBI has said that locker facility can be extended to non-customers after due diligence; adding that banks must not insist on any Term Deposits from existing locker holders or those who have a satisfactory operative account. However, banks will have a 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.
RBI has further said that banks must have a Board approved policy for nomination and release of contents to the nominee and protection against claims being made by other persons. It added that banks must settle the claims and release contents of the locker to survivor(s) / nominee(s) within 15 days from the date of receipt of the claim subject to the production of proof of death of the depositor.