The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday directed banks to maintain a branch-wise list of vacant lockers as well as a wait-list for the purpose of allotment of lockers and ensure transparency in the allotment of lockers
As per the revised guidelines, the order will come into effect from January 1, 2022.
â€œIn order to facilitate customers making informed choices, banks shall maintain a branch-wise list of vacant lockers as well as a wait-list in Core Banking System (CBS) or any other computerized system compliant with Cyber Security Framework issued by RBI, for the purpose of allotment of lockers and ensure transparency in allotment of lockers,â€ the RBI said.
The revised instructions will be applicable to both new and existing safe deposit lockers and the safe custody of articles facility with the banks.
â€œThe banks shall acknowledge the receipt of all applications for allotment of locker and provide a wait list number to the customers, if the lockers are not available for allotment,â€ as per the instructions.
Banks would also need to adopt the model locker agreement to be framed by IBA.
The banks will have to put in place 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.
â€œThe bank shall not be liable for any damage and/or loss of contents of locker arising from natural calamities or Acts of God like earthquake, floods, lightning and thunderstorm or any act that is attributable to the sole fault or negligence of the customer,â€ it said.
Banks should, exercise appropriate care to their locker systems to protect their premises from such catastrophes. It is the responsibility of banks to take all steps for the safety and security of the premises in which the safe deposit vaults are housed.
â€œAs banks cannot claim that they bear no liability towards their customers for loss of contents of the locker, in instances where loss of contents of locker are due incidents (like fire, theft/ burglary/ robbery, dacoity,) or attributable to fraud committed by its employee(s), the banks’ liability shall be for an amount equivalent to one hundred times the prevailing annual rent of the safe deposit locker,â€ it said.
RBI said that 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.
Banks, however, should not insist on such Term Deposits from the existing locker holders or those who have a satisfactory operative account, it said.
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.