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Last Updated : Sep 06, 2019 10:20 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Hiring a bank locker? Here's a checklist of what you should know

You will have to open a savings/current account with a bank if you do not have one already, pay rent in advance for the financial year and make a fixed deposit that covers rental charges for three years.

Hiral Thanawala @thanawala_hiral

The good old bank locker is where many of us prefer to keep important documents such as sale deeds, loan papers, certificates, insurance policies and expensive items such as jewellery. These lockers are usually allotted to consumers on a first-come, first-serve basis by the bank. Availability of lockers is also an important aspect. It can be hired by individuals, alone or jointly, by firms, trusts and Hindu Undivided Family (HUFs). Read on to know the process of getting a locker allocated by a bank.

Getting a locker

On paper, you can open a locker with any bank’s branch. But banks usually give preference to their own customers, and also to those that belong to a particular branch. That’s also why many times you are put on a waiting list (around six months to a year) before getting a locker allotted if you wish to open a locker in a different bank from the one where you have a saving account. You must try to avail a locker facility with a bank branch you hold an account in and is close to where you reside.

Close

You need to fill the application form and submit to the bank. Then, you have to sign an agreement with the bank, known as ‘Memorandum of Letting’ and abide by the terms and conditions. In case a joint application is made, all members are required to be present while signing the agreement at the bank branch in front of the bank officer. You should retain a copy of this agreement.

Subsequently, all the applicants for the bank locker need to submit their know-your-customer (KYC) documents along with photographs.

You will have to open a savings/current account with a bank if you do not have one already, pay rent in advance for the financial year and make a fixed deposit that covers rental charges for three years.

RBI regulations

Earlier, some banks insisted that customers make fixed deposits of Rs 5 lakh and above to get a locker allocated. Or, they would ask customers to take insurance policies. Now, as per an RBI master circular on customer service in banks, linking locker facilities with making a fixed deposit or taking insurance products is prohibited.

After banks requested the RBI, they are now allowed to obtain a fixed deposit at the time of locker allotment, which would cover rent for three years and the charges for breaking the locker in case of an unfortunate event.

Further, on having a waiting list for lockers, the RBI has asked bank branches to maintain proper record for the purpose. You need to operate the locker at least once in a year. The bank can seal your locker if it’s not operated. If the bank’s appeal is ignored, it has the right to cancel the allotment of the locker even if the rent is paid regularly.

In case you have any grievances on such bundled investment schemes being insisted upon while asking for the allotment of a locker, approach customer redressal service person of the bank. If there is no response from the bank within 30 days, you can escalate the complaint to the banking ombudsman.

Having a nominee and joint holding

Banks allow you to have a nominee. You are also allowed to operate a locker as joint holders and or in the ‘either or survivor’ mode. It is beneficial to avail these benefits, which enable a bank to release the contents of the locker to the nominee or the joint holder hiring in the event of unfortunate death. If a locker is held jointly, and one of the holders dies, the contents can be released only jointly by the nominee(s) or the survivors as per banking clauses.

The cost

Rental charges vary based on location (metro, urban, semi-urban and rural) and sizes. Lockers come is different sizes – small, medium, large and extra-large. Locker rent is charged annually and is payable in advance. Some of the banks take a rent for two to three years in advance. The rental charges at public sector banks are lower compared those at private sector and foreign banks.

For instance, the rental charges of public sector banks such as State Bank of India and Union bank of India are between Rs 1,000 and 8,000  including GST, whereas private sector banks such as Axis Bank and Karur Vysya Bank levy Rs 1,500 to Rs 22,000 including GST. Citibank charges rent between Rs 2,500 to 48,000 including GST. ICICI Bank has ‘wealth’ branches catering to High-net-worth individual (HNIs) and high-level customers. A locker here is more expensive than at other ICICI Bank branches.

During the year, up to 12 visits are free, after which banks charge Rs 200 plus GST every time. This additional charges are debited from the customer’s bank account. This clause may vary from bank to bank.

What if you lose the key?

If you lose the locker keys, the first thing you should do is inform the bank’s branch manager in writing. The bank will then initiate a request to make a duplicate locker key. The duplicate locker key will be prepared by a locksmith. This will be done in your presence at the bank. Banks levy Rs 1,000 if you lose the key, in addition to the actual breaking open charges, which could be as high as Rs 5,000.

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First Published on Sep 6, 2019 09:51 am
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