Today marks the end of the deadline set by the RBI for banks to renew locker agreements for at least 50% of their customers by June 30, 2023. If you haven't done so already, it is crucial for you, as a customer, to carefully review and understand the changes in the bank locker rules.
These changes have been implemented following a crucial 2021 Supreme Court ruling that provided clarity on the responsibilities and liabilities of banks and locker users. Previously, banks served as custodians of the lockers and assumed a greater liability for any damage to stored items.
However, the new regulations redefine the bank-locker user relationship as that of a lessor and lessee. Banks now grant customers the right to use locker space, with the condition that it is not misused.
What are the new rules and changes in the locker agreement?
Here are the key aspects of the new locker agreement and the regulations that customers need to be aware of-
Prohibited items and usage
Customers are prohibited from storing hazardous materials, including contraband, drugs, weapons, arms, radioactive substances, or perishable belongings, in their lockers.
Furthermore, the storage of currency from any other country or cash is strictly prohibited. Lockers should be used solely for storing documents and jewelry, and access is contingent on the payment of rent.
License and transferability
The customer's license to use the locker is non-transferable and is intended for their personal use only. In the event of the sole locker hirer's death, if they have nominated someone to receive the locker contents, the banks will grant access to the nominee.
Before allowing access, the banks will verify the death certificate and confirm the identity of the nominee.Once verified, the nominee can remove the contents of the locker after an inventory is taken.
It is important for account holders to make nominations and keep them updated to facilitate a hassle-free transfer of locker contents in such situations.
Bank's authority and inspection
The bank reserves the authority to inspect the locker if it suspects the presence of illegal materials. In such cases, the bank can take necessary actions. The locker can only be opened in the presence of the customer.
Customers are responsible for any misuse of the password or key to access the locker. They should exercise caution and ensure the secure handling of these access credentials. Customers will receive notifications through email or SMS about their locker visits, ensuring safety and security measures.
The bank is not accountable for any unauthorized use of the locker. Additionally, the bank is not liable for the misplacement of customer belongings in the event of natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, or man-made activities such as terrorist attacks, or due to customer negligence.
However, the bank will provide compensation to the customer in case of building collapse, theft, fire, robbery, or fraudulent acts committed by its staff or the bank.
The new locker agreement includes essential details such as locker rent, the bank's duties and rights, escalation rights, and other pertinent information. Currently, banks are responsible for bearing the cost of documentation.
What is the deadline for signing the agreement?
The deadline for signing the new locker agreement is December 31, 2023. However, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set interim milestones for banks to renew agreements with their customers. By June 30, 2023, at least 50% of existing customers' agreements should be renewed, and by September 30, 2023, this figure should increase to 75%.
To ensure transparency, customers will be required to sign the locker agreement on stamp paper. The cost of documentation will be borne by the bank. Additionally, banks will notify customers through email or SMS about any visits to their lockers for safety reasons.
The new locker agreement and rules introduced in compliance with the Supreme Court's clarification aim to redefine the relationship between banks and locker users. It is essential for customers to understand their rights and responsibilities under the new agreement and adhere to the guidelines to avoid any potential disruptions in accessing their lockers.