New Bank Locker Rules To Take Effect On January 1, 2023: Know Details

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has amended bank locker rules, which will take effect on January 1, 2023. Know the changes in regulations for locker facilities.
New Bank Locker Rules To Take Effect On January 1, 2023: Know Details

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has amended the bank locker rules, which include providing customers with updated locker agreements. The rules will take effect from January 1, 2023.

As per an RBI notification, the agreements must follow the model drafted by the Indian Bank Association (IBA). “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 the ordinary course of business to safeguard the interests of the bank,” the notification on August 18, 2021, reads. 

It also asked the banks to renew their customer locker agreements by January 1, 2023.

In light of these changes, social media is abuzz with queries. For instance, one user asked: “My wife and sister-in-law jointly hold a locker in a bank where my sister-in-law has a savings account. Can we request the bank to delink my sister-in-law’s savings account (with her consent) from the locker and make my wife the sole owner? Or do we need to close the locker and apply for a new one in my wife’s name?” 

The Solution

Shreejith Menon, chief operating officer, operations, customer service & facilities at Fincare small finance bank, says, "A customer can get the joint holder removed from the locker facility without closing the locker and continue the facility with a single name."

Further, Sanchay Sinha, country head and senior general manager of retail banking at South Indian Bank Limited, adds the holders must submit a joint request letter to delink their names from the locker.

Opening A Bank Locker

Opening a bank locker isn't a daunting task, but the availability of safes in the desired branch is a concern. Every branch has a list of available lockers and a waitlist for lockers.

So when one applies for a locker, the bank branch acknowledges the customer's application and assigns one or gives him a waitlist number if no lockers are available.

Sinha adds, "Customers don't need to open a savings account in the same bank for availing lockers." The facility is offered to all KYC-compliant customers regardless of their relationship with the bank. One year Locker Rent is collected from the customer in advance, he said.

Customers must have valid KYC documents, fill out the application accompanied by a passport-size photograph, and a signed and stamped locker agreement document (in IBA specified format), and pay the locker rent for the entire year in advance. 

"Due diligence is carried out for all customers. All locker holders need to execute the locker agreement in the latest IBA format," adds Sinha.

Things To Keep In Mind

In a notification in August 2021, the RBI stated that banks must obtain a term deposit from the customer at the time of locker allotment to save them from a potential situation where the customer neither operates the locker nor pays the rent. The term deposit would cover rent for three years and charges to break open the vault if the need arises.

“Banks, however, shall not insist on such term deposits from existing locker holders or those who have satisfactory operative accounts,” the notification said. 

The nominee will get full access to the locker if the original keeper dies without a will. “In cases where there is a valid nomination/clear survivorship clause, the claim from the nominees should be settled based on nomination clause,” said Sinha.

Suppose there was no nominee or a will. In that case, the legal heirs must comply with specific rules like submitting a signed claim application, death certificate of the locker holder, and KYC documents, among others, to claim the locker. 

Banks have been collecting the locker rent in advance as a rule for the past year. So if one surrenders the locker before time, a proportionate amount of advance rent will be refunded by banks.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Business & Money