The New 2021 Indian Bank Locker Rules

The new Bank Locker Rules by the RBI were recently issued. All the guidelines will come into effect from 1st Jan 2022. In this article, the team at Incomet discusses all these rules and how they might impact you!

 

Compensation: 100 Times the Locker Rent

 

In case of any loss to your locker due to negligence at the bank’s end or due to any irresponsible behaviour at their end, then the bank locker holders will get 100 times of the locker rent amount as compensation! For example, if your locker rent is 3,000 then the compensation amount would be 3 Lacs in your case.

What the Point 7.2 of RBI Notification States:

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. It has the responsibility to ensure that incidents like fire, theft/ burglary/ robbery, dacoity, building collapse do not occur in the bank’s premises due to its own shortcomings, negligence and by any act of omission/commission.

As banks cannot claim that they bear no liability towards their customers for loss of contents of the locker, in instances where the loss of contents of the locker are due to incidents mentioned above 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.

 

 

Modern Notifications: SMS/Email Alerts At The Time of Locker Access!

 

Now, whenever your locker is accessed, you’d hey SMS and email notifications on the same day! This would be immensely helpful in cases where unauthorised access takes place.

 

What the Point 4.1.3 of the notification states:

 

Banks shall send an email and SMS alert to the registered email ID and mobile number of the customer before the end of the day as a positive confirmation intimating the date and time of the locker operation and the redressal mechanism available in case of unauthorized locker access.

 

 

 

Better Surveillance: Last 180 Days Footage Required At all Times!

 

Banks will have to incorporate CCTV setup that monitors the common areas and doors from where entry and exits happen inside the locker room. Moreover, this footage would need to be stored for at least 180 Days.

 

What the point 2.1.2 of the notification states:

 

The area housing the lockers should remain adequately guarded at all times. The banks shall install Access Control System, if required as per their risk assessment, which would restrict any unauthorized entry and create digital record of access to locker room with time log. As per their internal security policy, banks may cover the entry and exit of the strong room and the common areas of operation under CCTV camera and preserve its recording for a period of not less than 180 days.

In case any customer has complained to the bank that his/her locker is opened without his/her knowledge and authority, or any theft or security breach is noticed/observed, the bank shall preserve the CCTV recording till the police investigation is completed and the dispute is settled.

 

 

Charges: Banks Can Now Charge 3yrs of Rent As Term Deposits

 

Banks are allowed to charge up to 3yrs of rent and other charges of breaking the locker from customers. So you may be asked to create a Fixed Deposit with the bank of a small amount, not a huge amount. This is to ensure the protection of banks from situations where the locker holder is unreachable for many years without paying the rent.

Hence, if the locker rent is 3,000 Rs. Then you may be asked for a small term deposit which should ideally not cross 4 times the rent which is 12,000 Rs. In any situation.

In case a bank official asks you to create an exorbitant amount of FB (In Lacs) or asks you to purchase some insurance policy then you may complain to RBI regarding the same.

 

Here is what the 2.2.1 notification states:

 

Banks may face potential situations where the locker-hirer neither operates the locker nor pays the rent. 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, shall not insist on such Term Deposits from the existing locker holders or those who have satisfactory operative account. The packaging of allotment of locker facility with placement of term deposits beyond what is specifically permitted above will be considered as a restrictive practice

 

Transparency: Vacant Locker List & Waitlist Numbers to Be Displayed

 

Now, each application of a locker has to be acknowledge and a waitlist number has to be given. The waitlist numbers should also get displayed in banks along with the count of vacant lockers available.

 

Here is what point 2 of the notification states:

 

In 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.

The banks shall acknowledge the receipt of all applications for allotment of the locker and provide a waitlist number to the customers if the lockers are not available for allotment

 

 

Situations in Which the Locker Can Be Opened By The Bank

 

Here is what point 6 of the notification states in this regard:

 

This part refers to the breaking open of the locker in a manner other than through the normal access by the customer using her/his original key or password under any one of the following circumstances:

  1. If the hirer loses the key and requests for breaking open the locker at her /his cost; or
  2. If the Government enforcement agencies have approached the bank with orders from the Court or appropriate competent authority to seize lockers and requested for access to the lockers; or
  3. If the bank is of the view that there is a need to take back the locker as the locker hirer is not cooperating or not complying with the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Banks shall have a clear Board approved policy together with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for breaking open the lockers for all possible situations keeping in view the relevant legal and contractual provisions.

That’s it from the team of Incomet for this article! See you in the next one.