The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted an extension to banks for the completion of the renewal process of locker agreements. The new deadline, set for 31st December 2023, requires banks to achieve two milestones by specified dates. The first milestone, renewal of 50% of the agreements, must be reached by 30th June 2023, followed by the second milestone of renewing 75% of the agreements by 30th September 2023.
The need for renewal arises from a Supreme Court judgment in February 2021, which directed the RBI to establish regulations for locker management within six months. Consequently, the RBI issued a circular in August 2021, stipulating that banks must have a board-approved agreement in place for lockers. While the agreements took effect for new customers on 1st January 2022, the deadline for existing customers was initially set for 1st January 2023.
Due to a significant number of customers who had not yet signed the revised agreements, the RBI decided to extend the deadline in a phased manner. However, confusion has arisen regarding the denomination of the stamp paper required for the new locker agreements. Public sector banks are requesting a Rs 20 stamp paper, while private banks are demanding various denominations between Rs 100 and Rs 200.
To ensure compliance, customers are advised to carefully review the terms and clauses of the agreement provided by their bank. If any discrepancies or disagreements arise, customers should communicate with their bank to ensure adherence to the RBI guidelines. The RBI has also allowed banks to collect fixed deposits at the time of locker allotment to cover three years’ rent and potential charges for breaking open the locker if necessary. The responsibility for damage caused by certain events or negligence of the customer lies with the customer, while the bank must compensate customers for incidents such as theft or fire.
Furthermore, customers are encouraged to register their email addresses and mobile numbers with their respective banks to receive alerts about locker access and to establish a redressal mechanism for unauthorized access.