Customers availing bank lockers facilities have been asked to sign a revised locker agreement with their bank. The mandate from the Reserve Bank of India states that the new locker agreement must not have clauses which are unfair to the bank locker customers.
The August 18, 2021 notification by RBI stated that “Banks shall have a Board approved agreement for safe deposit lockers. For this purpose, banks may adopt the model locker agreement to be framed by IBA. This agreement shall be in conformity with these revised instructions and the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in this regard.”
“Banks shall ensure that any unfair terms or conditions are not incorporated in their locker agreements. Further, the terms of the contract shall not be more onerous than required in ordinary course of business to safeguard the interests of the bank. Banks shall renew their locker agreements with existing locker customers by January 1, 2023.”
Bank locker customers must ensure that they have signed a new locker agreement which will be effective from January 1, 2023. Banks like Punjab National Bank (PNB) are sending SMSs to customers alerting them of the same.
According to the message received by PNB customers, “As per RBI Guidelines, New Locker Agreement is to be executed before 31.12.2022. Kindly ensure if not done earlier – Team PNB.”
New locker agreement from January 1, 2023
If you have rented a locker or plan to rent one to store your valuables in a bank locker, then you should be aware of the new bank locker rules laid out by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that came into effect on January 1, 2022. The RBI announced the new guidelines via a notification on August 8, 2021.
While banks will begin implementing operational standards on January 1, 2022, safe deposit locker holders will need to execute a new locker agreement with the bank in order to be eligible for the new pay.
Banks are free to use the IBA-drafted model
locker agreement. According to the RBI
notification, this arrangement must comply with the updated instructions as well as the Supreme Court’s directives in this regard.
According to the Reserve Bank of India revised instructions notification, “Banks shall ensure that any unfair terms or conditions are not incorporated in their locker agreements. Further, the terms of the contract shall not be more onerous than required in ordinary course of business to safeguard the interests of the bank. Banks shall renew their locker agreements with existing locker customers by January 1, 2023.”
What is Locker Agreement
According to the PNB locker agreement policy, “At the time of allotment of the locker to a customer, the bank shall enter into an agreement with the customer to whom the locker facility is provided, on a paper duly stamped. A copy of the locker agreement in duplicate signed by both the parties shall be furnished to the locker- hirer to know his/her rights and responsibilities. Original Agreement shall be retained with the bank’s branch where the locker is situated”
Here are some of the new locker rules that came into effect on January 1, 2023.
SMS and email alerts about locker access and operation
Before the end of the day, banks must send an email and SMS alert to the customer’s registered email address and mobile number as confirmation, informing them of the date, time, and potential recourse in the event of unauthorised locker access.
Banks will be eligible to pay in case of any loss of locker content resulting from the bank’s negligence, according to the new RBI standards.
The RBI notification says: “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 loss of contents of 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 bank locker.
Transfer of content if the account holder dies
If the sole locker hirer nominates an individual to receive the contents of the locker in the event of his death, the banks shall give such nominee access to the locker with the liberty to remove the contents after an inventory is taken in the prescribed manner, after verification of the death certificate and satisfying the identity and genuineness of such individual approached.
If the locker was hired jointly with instructions to operate it under joint signatures and the locker hirer(s) nominates any other individual(s), the bank shall give access to the locker and the liberty to remove the contents jointly to the survivor(s ) and the nominee(s) after an inventory was taken in the prescribed manner in the event of death of any of the locker hirers.