The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has mandated banks in the country to renew their locker agreements with existing locker customers by January 1. All the existing locker depositors are required to furnish proof of eligibility for a renewed locker arrangement. They are required to sign a renewal agreement before the specified date. RBI’s revised guidelines were first released on August 2021.
Model Locker Agreement
The central bank has directed all lenders to use the Indian Banks’ Association IBA-drafted Model Locker Agreement, in line with the Supreme Court’s orders and guidelines. RBI has instructed banks to ensure that any “unfair terms or conditions” are not covered in their locker agreements. The revised guidelines add that the terms of the agreement shall not be more “onerous than required in ordinary course of business” to secure the interests of the bank.
CCTV cameras in Safe deposit areas
RBI advises the banks to install CCTV camera at entry and exit points of the strong room and the common areas of operation. It mandates to preserve its recording for a period of not less than 180 days.
According to the guidelines, if any customer has complained to the bank that his/her locker is opened without his/her knowledge and authority, or any theft or security breach is noticed/observed, the bank shall preserve the CCTV recording till the police investigation is completed and the dispute is settled.
Depositors can now get up to 100 times the bank charges if the valuables stored in the vaults are ransacked or lost due to fire or building collapse. However, the bank shall not be liable for any damage and/or loss of contents of locker originating from natural calamities or ‘Acts of God’.
Government raids to be notified
If any of the government authorities have approached for attachment, recovery or seizure of the locker or articles deposited for safe custody, under the new guidelines, banks have to inform the customer by letter as well as by email/SMS.
Banks can demand term deposit as rent
RBI allows the banks to demand a term deposit during the allocation of a locker that would be collected as a rent for three years. But lenders cannot insist on such term deposits for the existing locker holders or from those with satisfactory operative accounts, the guidelines read.