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Safe Deposit Locker Management Policy

Preamble

Safe deposit locker is a facility offered by the Bank to its customers satisfying basic due diligence requirements. This policy document on lockers, outlines the guiding principles in respect of formulation of facility offered by the Bank and terms and conditions governing the conduct of this facility. The document recognizes the importance of this facility to the customer and details out the key governing principles for various aspects of including and not restricted to hiring, accessing, providing nomination facility, settlement.

PART A : Locker facility:

  1. Locker facility is offered by the Bank across select Branches in its network and these lockers are of varying dimensions
  2. Lockers are offered by the Bank to its customers who hold either a Current account or a Savings account
  3. Currently, Bank is not offering electronic accessed lockers. Whenever locker is surrendered by the hirer, Bank changes the lock as against regulatory requirement of inter-change

PART B: Locker hiring process

  • The existing customers of the bank who are fully compliant with the CDD criteria under the RBI Master Direction – Know Your Customer (KYC) Directions, 2016 (as updated from time to time) are eligible to avail of the facility of safe deposit lockers/ safe custody article subject to on-going compliance.
  • Branch wise vacant locker list will be made available to customers on request and in the event on unavailability of lockers at the time of request, a branch level waitlist will be maintained.
  • The customer may hire the locker post executing the Board approved agreement with the Bank. Model locker agreement will be shared by IBA
  • The locker rent for the year will be collected in advance. In the event of surrender of a locker by a customer, the proportionate amount of advance rent collected shall be refunded to the customer

PART C: Locker operations

  • The locker hirer and/or the persons duly authorized by him/ her only shall be permitted to operate the locker after proper verification of their identity and recording of the authorization by the officials concerned of the bank. The bank shall maintain a record of all individuals, including the locker-hirers, who have accessed the lockers and the date and time (both check-in and check-out time) on which they have opened and closed the locker and obtain their signature
  • The customer shall be intimated via SMS and/or email of the timing of locker access
  • Banks shall take necessary steps to ensure that the area in which the locker facility is housed is properly secured and guarded. Key areas shall be covered by CCTV camera surveillance and such recording shall be preserved for a period of not less than 180 days. The place where the lockers are housed shall be secured enough to protect against hazard of rain / flood water entering and damaging the lockers in contingent situations.
  • In the event where locker will not be properly closed by hirer post operation, Bank custodian will immediately close the locker & locker-hirer will be promptly intimated by Bank through e-mail/SMS.
  • All such lockers where rentals are in arrear but the Bank is unable to contact the holders, no operations shall be allowed. The access to any of these lockers will be allowed only post recovery of all arrear rentals and due diligence in customer authentication.
  • If the locker rent has not been received for a minimum of 3 years, the Bank shall be at the liberty to break open the locker as per laid out procedures

PART D: Nomination facility

  • The Banks offers nomination facility for customers for safe deposit lockers.
  • In case the nominee is a minor, the same procedure as applicable to bank accounts shall be followed.
  • A passport size photo of the nominee attested by the customer may be obtained from the customers, at his/her option and preserved in the records
  • Such nomination will be duly updated in the Bank records and the customer will have the option to modify/cancel such nomination

PART E: Settlement of Claims

  • The Bank will settle the claims in respect of deceased locker hirers and release contents of the locker to survivor(s) / nominee(s), as the case may be, within a period not exceeding 15 days from the date of receipt of the claim subject to the production of proof of death of the depositor and suitable identification of the claimant(s) with reference to nomination, to the bank’s satisfaction. Refer to the banks “Nomination and Settlement Policy for lockers”
  • The contents of the locker shall be handed over to the claimant (joint holder/ nominee as applicable)
    • Sole locker hirer with nomination: After verification of the death certificate and satisfying the identity and genuineness of such individual approached, the banks shall give access of the locker to such nominee with liberty to remove the contents of the locker, after an inventory was taken in the prescribed manner.
    • Jointly held locker with the instructions to operate it under joint signatures, and has a nomination : in the event of death of any of the locker hirers, the bank shall give access of the locker and the liberty to remove the contents jointly to the survivor(s) and the nominee(s) after an inventory was taken in the prescribed manner.
    • Jointly held locker with survivorship clause, with “either or survivor”/ “anyone or survivor” / “former or survivor” mandate or according to any other survivorship clause permissible under the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949: the banks shall follow the mandate in the event of death of one or more of the joint locker-hirers.
    • In case where the deceased locker hirer had not made any nomination or where the joint hirers had not given any mandate that the access may be given to one or more of the survivors by a clear survivorship clause, banks shall follow the “Nomination and Settlement Policy for lockers” to  facilitate access to legal heir(s) / legal representative of the deceased locker hirer.
    • In case of a minor appointed as the nominee, the contents of the locker shall be handed over to a person, who is, in law, competent to receive the articles on behalf of such minor.
    • In all of the above cases, the access shall be given only after satisfying the following conditions:
      • The identity of the survivor(s) / nominee(s) and the fact of death of the locker hirer has been established by the bank, obtaining appropriate documentary evidence
      • No known order or direction from Courts/Forums restraining the Bank from giving access to the locker of the deceased is present
    • Access to the articles in the locker, thus provided to the Survivor(s) / nominee(s), is only as a trustee of the legal heirs of the deceased locker hirer and such access given to them shall not affect the right or claim which any person may have against the survivor(s) / nominee(s) to whom the access is given.
    • The above process shall be followed by the Bank for the return of locker contents as well.
  • The Customer Service Committee of the Board, at appropriate intervals, on an ongoing basis shall review the details of the number of claims received pertaining to deceased locker-hirers / depositors of safe custody article accounts and those pending beyond the stipulated period, with reasons therefor.

PART F: Closure/Break-open and Discharge of locker items

  • In the event of shifting/ closure or merger of branch, warranting physical relocation of the lockers, the bank shall give public notice in two newspapers (including one local daily in vernacular language) in this regard and the customers shall be intimated at least two months in advance along with options for them to change or close the facility. In case of unplanned shifting due to natural calamities or any other such emergency situation, banks shall make efforts to intimate their customers suitably at the earliest.
  • In case the locker hirer lost the key, the hirer should immediately notify the bank. The bank shall take necessary steps to replace the key/ change the lock and issue a new key to the hirer and all charges incurred in this regard shall be passed on to the hirer.
  • Under following circumstances, the bank is authorised to break open the locker:
    1. Attachment and recovery of contents in a Locker and the Articles in the safe custody of the bank by any Law Enforcement Authority
    2. Discharge of locker contents by banks due to non-payment of locker rent for a minimum period of 3 years
    3. If the locker remains inoperative for a period of 7 years or more, even if the rent is paid regularly
    4. Damage / Loss of locker keys

1 Process to be followed in the event of attachment

  • In case of attachment and recovery of the contents in a locker of a customer or the articles left by a customer for safe custody of the bank by any Authority acting either under the orders of a Court or any other competent authority vested with the power to pass such orders, the banks shall co-operate in execution and implementation of the orders.
  • The bank shall verify and satisfy itself about the orders and the connected documents received for attachment and recovery of the contents in a locker or articles in the safe custody of the bank. The customer (locker-hirer) shall be informed by letter as well as by email/SMS to the registered email id/mobile phone number that the Government Authorities have approached for attachment and recovery or seizure of the locker or articles deposited for safe custody. An inventory of the contents of locker and articles seized and recovered by the Authority shall be prepared in the presence of such Government Authorities, two independent witnesses and an officer of the bank and shall be signed by all. A copy of the inventory may be forwarded to the customer to the address available in the bank’s records or handed over to the customer against acknowledgement.

Banks shall also record a video of the break-open process and the inventory assessment, wherever legally permissible, and preserve the video to produce as evidence in case of any dispute or Court or fraud case in future.

2 & 3 Process to be followed where rent is not recovered /  the locker is inoperative for 7 years

If the locker remains inoperative for a period of seven years and the locker-hirer cannot be located, even if rent is being paid regularly, the bank shall be at liberty to transfer the contents of the locker to their nominees/legal heir or dispose of the articles in a transparent manner, as the case may be. Process for break open shall be as follows:

  • Locker holders shall be communicated via SMS/ email followed by physical letters, providing one month notice to report to the Branch. This shall be sent to all holders, including POA holders on their registered address. In case of deceased holders, the notice shall be sent to the administrator / executor / succession certificate holder as the case may be.
  • In case of no response received within 30 days, a reminder notification may be sent intimating notice of termination of the agreement
  • If after another one month there is still no response, a notice shall be published in two prominent daily newspapers (one English and other vernacular) having wide circulation in the area in which the lockers are located. Followed by a final notice before break open of the locker
  • On the day of break-open, the lock shall be forced open in the presence of a Notary Public, an independent witnesses and an officer of the bank.
  • The sequence of events should be notarized by the Notary Public.
  • The entire process of break-open shall be video recorded and the inventory/inventories of its/their contents should be made in triplicate in and signed by the officer of the Bank and the independent witnesses in whose presence the lockers are opened. Such inventory list shall be forwarded to the locker holders on their registered address.
  • After listing, the contents should be placed in sealed packet/s with one copy of the listing and held in safe custody under dual control in another vacant locker at the same branch, Key for the locker should be held in branch cash vault as a safe custody item to withdrawn jointly by branch manager and another Bank officer dually.

4 Damage / Loss of key

  • In this case, the locker shall be broken open at the request of the customer, post receipt of a written request from all locker holders stating the reason (damage or loss)
  • On the appointed day the lock shall be broken open only in the customer’s presence
  • Necessary client authentication and locker access process steps shall be complied .
  • During the locker break open process , operations of the nearby lockers shall be suspended , so that locker hirer can smoothly remove the contents.
  • Post break open, a written declaration shall be obtained from the customer stating that the intended locker has been broken opened in their presence and if the lost key is found in the future, same shall be handed over to the bank. The bank shall such destroy the lost and found key.
  • Depending on the availability of the lockers branch may allocate new locker to the hirer/s or request the client to remove the contents until vendor replace the new locker key after change of lock.

PART G: Compensation policy / Liability of the Banks

  • 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. The Bank shall, however, exercise appropriate care to the locker systems to protect our premises from such catastrophes.
  • As the Bank does not keep a record of the contents of the locker or of any articles removed therefrom or placed therein by the customer, the Bank would not be under any liability to insure the contents of the locker against any risk whatsoever. The Bank, thus, will not offer, directly or indirectly, any insurance product to its locker hirers for insurance of locker contents
  • It is the responsibility of the Bank to take all steps for the safety and security of the premises in which the safe deposit vaults are housed. The Bank has the responsibility to ensure that incidents like fire, theft/ burglary/ robbery, dacoity, building collapse do not occur in the bank’s premises due to shortcomings, negligence and by any act of omission/commission. Thus, in instances where loss of contents of locker are due to incidents mentioned above or attributable to fraud committed by the bank employee(s), the banks’ liability shall be for an amount equivalent to one hundred times the prevailing annual rent of the safe deposit locker.