RBI: Changes in Bank Locker Rules
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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a notification for revised instructions on bank lockers, effective from 1 January 2022. The revisions are due to the development in the banking and technology sectors and the feedback received from the banks and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). The revised instructions were released on 18 August 2021, superseding some of the previous circulars released. 

The revised guidelines are for safe deposit locker or safe custody article facilities provided by banks. The banks will ultimately frame their own rules around the framework provided by the revisions by the RBI. This article contains some of the modifications. 

The banks are allowed to obtain a term deposit to ensure payment on locker rent. The term deposit would cover three years’ rent and other charges. In case of shifting, merging or closing the lockers, the bank will notify in two newspapers, including a local daily and a vernacular. The customers will be notified at least two months in advance with alternative options. 

The lockers will now follow the standards prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards or enhanced industry standards. The banks are also not allowed to share customers’ data with third parties. 

The time limit for settlement claims and releasing the locker’s contents to the survivors or nominees is within 15 days from the receipt of the claim made. The nominees or the survivors will have to provide proof of death of the locker-hirer and other applicable documents. In the case of joint locker hirers, the banks will follow the survivorship clause applicable. 

Suppose the locker rent has not been paid for three consecutive years. In that case, the banks can break open the lockers following the due procedure, with prior intimation to the locker-hirer. The locker agreement will now have a clause mentioning this revision. 

Suppose the locker remains inoperative for seven years and the locker-hirer cannot be located. In that case, the banks will now transfer the contents to the nominees, legal heirs, or dispose of them, according to the new additions in the locker agreement. 

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at jyotsna.singh@cleartax.in

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