RBI’s revised guidelines for locker management

Source: The post is based on the article “RBI’s revised guidelines for locker management published in The Hindu on 11th January 2023

What is the News?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released revised bank locker rules. The rules will take effect from January 1, 2023.

Why were these revised bank locker rules released by RBI?

A Union Bank customer had approached the Supreme Court stating that the lender broke his locker illegally citing an incorrect assertion that he had not paid dues between 1993-94. 

The Chief Manager of the bank admitted to having incorrectly broken the locker and apologized for the same. 

The court ordered the lender to compensate the customer. The court separately added that the existing regulations on locker management were “inadequate and muddled” with no uniformity in rules.

What are the key provisions of the revised bank locker rules?

Agreement: While allotting lockers, banks have to enter into an agreement with the customer on duly stamped paper, with a copy being provided to both parties.

Term Deposit: Banks must obtain a term deposit from the customer at the time of locker allotment to save them from a potential situation where the customer neither operates the locker nor pays the rent. 

– The term deposit would cover rent for three years and charges to break open the vault if the need arises.

Nominee: The nominee will get full access to the locker if the original keeper dies without a will.

Compensation: Banks will be eligible to pay in case of any loss of locker content resulting from the bank’s negligence.

– However, banks will not be liable for any damage or loss of locker contents caused by natural calamities or acts of God such as earthquakes, floods, lightning, or thunderstorms, or any act attributable to the customer’s sole fault or negligence.

Refund: If the locker rent is collected in advance, the proportionate amount would require to be refunded to the customer should s/he surrender the account.

Not liable for content in lockers: Banks would not be under any liability to insure the contents of the locker against any risk whatsoever. Additionally, under no circumstances can it offer insurance products to its customers for insuring the contents.

Rent not paid: Banks would reserve the discretion to break open the locker with regards to the due procedure if the rent stands pending for three years in a row. They must however inform the user and accord him ‘reasonable opportunity’ to withdraw the deposited contents.

 

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