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New guidelines issued by RBI for lockers in Banks

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) instructed banks on Wednesday to keep a branch-by-branch list of vacant lockers, as well as a wait-list, for the purpose of locker assignment and to guarantee transparency in locker allotment. The revised instructions will take effect on 1 January 2022, according to the RBI.

To assist customers in making informed decisions, banks shall maintain a branch-by-branch list of vacant lockers as well as a wait-list in Core Banking System (CBS) or any other computerized system compliant with RBI's Cyber Security Framework for the purpose of locker allotment and ensure transparency in locker allotment, as stated by the RBI. If lockers are not available for assignment, the banks must acknowledge receipt of all applications and issue clients with a waitlist number, according to the central bank.

According to the revised rules, current bank clients who have applied for a locker and are completely compliant with the CDD (Customer Due Diligence) requirements may be granted safe deposit lockers/safe custody article facilities, subject to continued compliance. Customers who do not have any other financial relationships with the bank may be offered safe deposit locker/safe custody item services, according to the statement.

According to the RBI, banks must include a provision in the locker agreement stating that the locker-hirer/s must not store anything unlawful or harmful in the Safe Deposit locker. "If the bank suspects any client of depositing any unlawful or dangerous substance in the safe deposit locker, the bank shall have the authority to take necessary action against such customer as it considers suitable and proper under the circumstances," the statement continued.

Banks must also have a Board-approved agreement for safe deposit lockers, according to the central bank. Banks may use the model locker agreement drafted by the Indian Banks Association (IBA) for this purpose, according to the statement. "This agreement will be in accordance with these amended instructions as well as the Hon'ble Supreme Court's directives in this respect. Banks must guarantee that their locker agreements do not include any unreasonable terms or restrictions “it was said. The contract's conditions must not be more onerous than are necessary for the regular course of business to protect the bank's interests. By 1 January 2023, banks must renew their locker agreements with current locker clients the Reserve Bank of India stated.

Settlement of Claims in case of death of a Customer

The RBI stated that banks must have a policy for settling claims that have been authorized by the Board of Directors. It has also requested that banks develop policies for nominating and releasing the contents of safety lockers/safe custody articles to the nominee, as well as protection from notification of claims from third parties. Banks should develop their own claim forms, in accordance with applicable laws and regulatory standards, to guarantee that objects left in safe custody and contents of lockers are restored to the legitimate nominee, as well as to verify the proof of death," it added. Banks are required to settle claims and transfer the contents of the locker to the survivor(s)/ nominee(s) within 15 days of receiving the claim, subject to the provision of proof of the depositor's death.

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