New bank locker rules: Will get nothing if content is lost due to ‘Acts of God'
New bank locker rules: The liability of banks will be limited to 100 times its annual rent in case of fire, theft, building collapse or fraud by bank employees
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued revised instructions for all banks regarding locker management. The revised instructions will be applicable to both new and existing safe deposit lockers and the safe custody of articles facility with the banks. "The revised instructions will come into force with effect from 1 January 2022 (except where otherwise specified) and be applicable to both new and existing safe deposit lockers and the safe custody of articles facility with the banks,"the central bank said in a notification.
To facilitate customers making informed choices, banks should maintain a branch-wise list of vacant lockers as well as a wait-list in the core banking system in order to ensure transparency in the allotment of lockers.
The central bank said the banks should 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.
Why RBI issued new guidelines for bank lockers?
In February, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Mohan M Shatanagoudar and Vineet Saran asked the RBI to frame uniform rules for all banks regarding locker management within six months.
Banks' liability will be 100 times the annual rent of lockers
The liability of banks will be limited to 100 times its annual rent in case of fire, theft, building collapse or fraud by bank employees. "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 incidents (like fire, theft/ burglary/ robbery, dacoity,) 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," it said.
The banks will have to put in place a Board-approved policy outlining the responsibility owed by them for any loss or damage to the contents of the lockers due to their negligence. "The bank shall not be liable for any damage and/or loss of contents of locker arising from natural calamities or Acts of God like earthquake, floods, lightning and thunderstorm or any act that is attributable to the sole fault or negligence of the customer," it said.
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, RBI said.
Banks, however, should not insist on such Term Deposits from the existing locker holders or those who have a satisfactory operative account, it said.