If you are planning to take a locker in a bank, you must know the new rules

by Shatakshi Gupta

People keep their jewelry and other valuable items in bank lockers so that these expensive items are safe. If you have also kept your gold in the bank locker or you are planning to reserve a locker for yourself in a bank, then you must know about the newly revised locker rules.

After an order of the Supreme Court, RBI has fixed the accountability of banks regarding bank lockers. The new rules will apply to both safe deposit lockers and safe custody with banks. Last year, the Supreme Court had directed the RBI to implement a uniform rule for all banks regarding locker management within 6 months. Banks have also started implementing new rules regarding their lockers. RBI has implemented new rules regarding the bank lockers keeping in mind the interests of customers.

Revised compensation:

Under the new rule implemented from January 2022, the Reserve Bank has fixed the limit of damages to the customers for arson, theft, building collapse or fraud by bank employees. Now in any such circumstances, the customer will be given compensation up to 100 times the annual fee paid for the facility of bank locker. This means that if the bank charges you Rs 10,000 as a locker fee annually, then you will be given maximum damage of Rs 10,00,000 lakhs.

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Guideline regarding dormant locker:

RBI guidelines state that the bank will give notice to the locker-owner through a letter and send email and SMS alerts to the registered email id and mobile phone number. If the letter is returned without delivery or the receiver is not traced to the locker hirer, the bank shall give reasonable time to the locker hirer or any other person interested in the contents of the locker to respond. Will issue public notices in letters, one in English and the other in the local language.

The amended RBI guidelines state that the bank will be free to open the locker and transfer the contents of the locker to its nominee/legal heir or dispose of the items in a transparent manner. But at the same time protecting the public interest, the central bank also issued detailed instructions that should be followed before breaking any locker.

The central bank’s guidelines further stated that the locker should be opened in the presence of an official of the bank and two independent witnesses and the entire process should be video-recorded.  RBI further said that after the locker is opened, the contents will be kept in a sealed envelope with detailed inventory inside a fireproof safe in a tamper-proof manner till claimed by the customer.

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