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How will the Reserve Bank of India’s new locker norms impact you?

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in 2021 revised the rules on safe deposit lockers, which will come into effect on December 31, 2023. These were initially slated to come into force on January 1, 2022. Then the date was postponed to January 1, 2023, and finally to the end of this year.

The new rules are expected to have an impact on the customers of all the banks in India.

What will change with RBI’s new locker rules?

Under the old norms, banks were the custodians of the lockers. The articles were not the property of these banks, but they were liable to pay for the damages of the stored articles.

Under the new norms, the relationship between a bank and a customer has become that of a lessor and a lessee. The banks will offer the customers a right to use the locker, given that it is not misused.

The new norms define what is allowed in the locker and what is not. Jewellery and documents, among other things, can be stored by the customer in their locker. But items like boarded cash or guns are not allowed.

How are the new rules beneficial for the customers?

The new norms fix the onus to ensure the safety of the locker on the banks. The user will have to take complete responsibility for the content of the locker, but banks will ensure its safety. If a customer faces loss due to the bank’s negligence, the bank may have to pay up to 100 times the prevailing annual rent of the locker.

However, the compensation is not applicable if the loss occurs due to natural calamities or acts of god.

Also, the locker agreement will now have to be signed on stamp paper. The bank will pay the cost of documentation, and a photocopy will be given to the user. The agreement will have documents like locker rent, rights and duties of the bank and user etc.

Can banks check the content of a locker?

No, the banks are not allowed to inspect the content of the locker under the new rules. Even when the bank suspects that the customer is storing an object that is not allowed, it can only be checked in the presence of the locker user.

Will locker charges change?

The new rules do not say anything about the locker charges. It is up to banks to increase the charges.

By when will the new rules kick in?

The banks must sign the locker agreement by December 31. However, 50 per cent and 75 per cent of the existing customers should have signed the agreement by June 30 and September 30, respectively.

The agreement will also have to be signed by the first-time users of the bank.


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