Friday, June 14, 2013

Everything You Would Ever Want To Know About Bank Lockers


Do you have a Safety Deposit Locker with a bank in India? Are you thinking about availing one? Irrespective of whether you have or don’t have a locker, the topic of Safety Deposit Lockers provided by banks is bound to be of interest to everybody. With the rising crime rate in the country, Bank Safety Lockers are one of the few alternatives for the population of our country to store their valuables. Though there have been cases of bank lockers being broken into, once in a while, such cases are few and very rare. So, the general feeling among the public in our country is that Bank Lockers are extremely safe which is 99.9% true...

All this said, opening or availing a Safety Deposit Locker or simply a Bank Locker is not an easy task. The purpose of this article is understand what these lockers are, how to avail them and many more things about this facility. If you have any further questions about Bank Lockers at the end of this article, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to answer them as best I can.

So, What is a Bank Locker?

A Bank Locker is a "Safe" or a "Vault" or a "Locker" that is rented out by banks in exchange for a fee. The Lockers are guarded heavily and made out of extremely strong metals which can’t be easily forged into. These lockers can be used to store physical valuables like jewellery, legal documents & agreements, cash etc. What is stored inside a locker by the customer, from a banks perspective is "None of my business".

The bank protects the locker on our behalf and we can keep whatever we want inside it.

How Does a Bank Locker Work?

Simple - Just like any locker. It has keys and once the requisite keys are inserted, the locker opens.

In case of Bank Lockers, they have two keys. One is maintained by the bank and the other by the customer. Only if both keys are used simultaneously, the locker will open. Usually the bank representative will help customers open the locker by providing the bank's key and then leave the customer alone inside the vault room to use their locker.

In return for the locker facility, the customer pays a yearly fee which varies depending on the size of the Locker held by them. Smaller lockers cost a few hundred rupees fee every year whereas larger lockers cost many thousands of rupees every year.

How do Banks Rent Out these Lockers?

Banks are supposed to rent out or should I say allot these lockers on a first-come-first-served basis. When a bank sets up a safety vault in one of its branches, it is supposed to take applications from customers who would be interested in renting out a locker and allot the lockers in the order in which the customers applied.

In case there are more takers than the no. of lockers available, the bank is supposed to maintain a Waiting List and allot the lockers to the person at the top of the waiting list when availability (due to surrender or closure by an existing customer) comes up.

Is this how banks rent out lockers in real life - Unfortunately NO...

So, How do Banks Rent Out Lockers in Real Life?

Banks these days are asking for hefty fixed deposits (depending on the size of the locker you wish to rent out) from customers in return for the Locker Facility. Some banks go a step further and give the customer an option to either open an FD or invest in one of the high-commission-paying Insurance/ULIP product sold by the bank branch in return for the Locker Facility.

Can Banks as for a Security Deposit while Availing a New Locker Facility?

Yes, Absolutely Yes but only to new customers. Existing customers cannot be forced to come up with security deposits after they actually opened their locker accounts.

But, the important kicker here is that - Banks can only ask for a security deposit to cover 3 years’ worth of Rent for the Locker and a fee to open the locker when a customer wants to open a locker account. The RBI Guidelines are very clear in this regard. According to RBI:

To ensure prompt payment of locker rent, banks may at the time of allotment, obtain a Fixed Deposit which would cover 3 years rent and the charges for breaking open the locker in case of an eventuality. However, banks should not insist on such Fixed Deposit from the existing locker-customers.

This is done to ensure that, in case the customer does not use the locker for a period of 3 years, the bank has enough funds to cover their charges for the "Locker Rental" for 3 years as well as to open the unused locker.

So, for example, if your lockers rental is Rs. 1000/- per year and the nominal charge to open a locker of the size that you wish to rent is Rs. 500/- the bank can ask for a security deposit of Rs. 3,500/- only.

Unfortunately, Banks actually ask for large FD's like 2 lakhs or 5 lakhs if you want a Bank Locker. So, this brings us to the next "BURNING" question...

Is it Mandatory to Open a Large Fixed Deposit while Availing the New Locker Facility?

No. Absolutely Not. The RBI Guidelines are clear in this aspect. Banks cannot force customers to come up with large Fixed Deposits in order to allot them a Locker.

Remember: This practice of asking for a large sum as FD or asking you to invest in some hi-fi ULIP product etc. is 100% illegal and banks are not supposed to engage in such unfair practices. The Sad state of affairs is that, Banks continue to blatantly disobey the RBI guidelines in this regard.


What are My Options if a Bank Officer Asks me for a Large FD in return for a Locker?

Option 1:

You can tell the bank officer that you know the RBI Guidelines for opening a locker and that they cannot demand such hefty deposits. This will probably result in a shock on the bank officer’s perspective and he will end up with either of the following responses...

Response No.1: No, no, I was not demanding an FD. The waiting list is quite high and a good FD may just prioritize your name, that’s all. The decision to open an FD is entirely yours and we will get back to you once a locker is available.

Response No. 2: Sorry, we currently do not have lockers available. We will add your name to the Waiting list and get back to you once they are available.

As you can see, your knowledge of banking guidelines is not going to get you a locker because, Lockers are one of the biggest source of FD's especially large value FD's for Banks. So, they will not give-in to your request that easily.

Option 2: This option is only applicable for Government Banks. Private Banks do not come under RTI so, check Option No. 3.

You can tell them you will file an RTI and find out if the bank actually does not have any locker vacancies.

This will result in an even bigger shock and the bank officer will probably give in to your request and try to bargain on the amount you need to deposit in an FD to open the locker. I would say that, if the number is quite reasonable like Rs. 10,000 or so, just don’t argue too much and get your locker.

If the bank officer is still adamant about the large sum FD, then the only option you have is to actually file an RTI complaint.

A Few months back when I was writing a series of articles about EPF, there was an article titled What Options Do I Have if the EPFO Grievance Redressal Does Not Work? which explained the steps on how to file an RTI Complaint against the regional EPF Office. The Steps to file an RTI complaint are the same in this case too.

When you file a RTI letter against any Government Bank, it has to be addressed to Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) or Central Assistant Public Information Officer (CAPIO). Now all the major branch heads of Nationalized Banks are also CPIO’s and you can directly write the RTI letter to the branch head, but address them as CPIO’s. So in the place of address, mention the branch name and the name of the bank with full address.

When you file RTI complaint, you can ask the following questions:

1. How many lockers are available in the branch?
2. What is the size of the different lockers available?
3. How many lockers are currently free and available to new customers?
4. What is the Rental amount per year for the different Locker types?
5. How many people have requested for locker facility and are currently on the waiting list?
6. Is there any requirement to make a Fixed Deposit for getting the Locker?
7. What is the amount of fixed deposit to be opened and what are the rules for it?
8. In how many days will a bank locker is allotted depending on your current position in the Waiting List?

Etc.

Option 3:

If you are requesting a locker in a private bank, your options are pretty limited. Check out the banks website and try to find out the contact details of the Grievance Redressal department or the Compliance department of the bank. Once you find it, contact them.

Once you contact such people in responsible positions via email/written communication, they are obliged to act in a fair and ethical manner. They cannot arm-twist us like the managers or officers in the bank branches. Since even private banks come under the RBI guidelines, they are supposed to act on your grievance; there is a very good chance that your grievance will be addressed by the appropriate person even though it is a private bank.

If you receive no response from these people, you can contact the Banking Ombudsman to get your grievance addressed and this will definitely help you get a solution to your situation.


Let us say, you managed to get a locker somehow, there are many more things you need to know.

Can the Bank Open my Locker without my Permission?

Yes, sure...

If you fail to pay the rent on time or if the bank or police suspect illegal activities on your part they can open your locker even without your written consent.

At the beginning of this article I said that bank lockers are 99.9% safe. So, what happens if someone manages to break into the Lockers?

This can be big news to most of you, and more importantly a shocker.

The truth is that - Banks are not responsible for the contents inside your bank lockers for any unforeseen events which are beyond the control of banks, provided they have done proper due diligence from their side to protect it.

So, this means that, if the Bank has constructed the locker in the best possible manner and is guarded by armed guards and still someone managed to break into the locker and steal some items, there is actually not much the bank can do for you. Nor are they responsible in case of natural calamities like an Earthquake or a Fire Accident or Cyclone Flood etc.

The Important point here is that the banks have to ensure that they take all possible steps to ensure the safety of the items held inside the lockers by customers. If there is water leakage and it resulted in stuff being soaked in water in the bottom locker shelf, the bank will be held liable to the damage. If the lockers were not guarded properly and as a result a robbery occurred, again, the bank will be liable because they failed to protect the locker adequately.

So, In Case, the bank was found Irresponsible which resulted in the Robbery - What will I get?

It depends....

As there is no written record or verification of what you stored inside your locker, you can’t actually quantify the value of the items that were kept inside. However, Banks insure the lockers to cover for such rare instances. In such cases, you as a customer must provide receipt to show that you in fact owned such an item and that it was lost due to this Robbery. In such case you will get some sort of compensation.

As, there is nothing written or noted down about the contents of your locker, there is a good chance that you will end up on the losing side here. If you are lucky, you may get around 20% or 30% of the value of the items you held inside.

Remember - You cannot quantify actual cash that was kept inside the locker because you are not supposed to keep cash in these lockers. That is why Bank accounts are for!!!


Some General Safety Precautions While Using Lockers:

1. Keep your Locker Key in a Safe Place and make sure that your spouse or at least one more family member knows how to access the locker
2. Open your locker only after the Bank representative leaves the Locker Vault Room
3. Make sure to lock the Locker properly before leaving the Vault Room
4. Keep your eyes and ears open. Make sure that you are not watched or followed when you are operating your Locker
5. Visit your locker frequently - at least once every 2 or 3 months and make sure that all your items are safe
6. Always keep a list of the items that you have kept in the Locker. In case of the improbable event of your locker being compromised, you can at least know what was lost and try to establish a value for it

A General Suggestion:

Most Banks accept Jointly Held Locker Accounts where 2 or 3 people who are blood relatives - mother/father/spouse/son/daughter. It is always a good idea to open up lockers as jointly held because in case one of the locker holders is out of town or for some reason unable to access the locker, the other person can still access the locker.

A Real life example could be, let us say, Mr. X opens up a locker and places all his wife's gold jewellery inside it for safe-keeping. His wife knows that her husband rents a locker at XYZ Bank but she is not a co-holder of the locker. One fine day Mr. X met with a bike accident and is hospitalized. The doctors ask for a big sum of money and Mrs. X knows that she has more than enough jewellery to sell and pay for her husbands treatment. But, she is not a joint-holder of the locker. So, legally the bank cannot and will not allow her access to her jewels which can save her husbands life.

This story above may sound cinematic, but the truth is, we never know what is going to happen next to either us or our family relatives. "Hope for the best but, Plan for the Worst" is a saying that holds good in most financial situations. So, make sure that you include your wife/husband/mom/dad/son/daughter as a joint holder when you open a locker or edit the current settings and include them as a joint holder.

I have tried to cover as much details as possible regarding Bank Lockers in the article above. If you have any questions reg. these lockers that aren’t covered above, do feel free to leave a comment...


Happy Banking!!!

95 comments:

  1. Extremely useful information. Thanx for it.

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  2. Thanks Anand. Its very useful information!!!

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  3. Good article. Appreciate it!!

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  4. Hi, what happens if the locker key is lost... what are the procedure and what would be the charges that bank would generaly charge ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You need to contact the bank. They have the right to charge you a fee and it depends from bank to bank depending on the size of the locker you hold.

      Anand

      Delete
  5. What are the things should not keep in bank locker..pls list it clearly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can keep anything you want. You are not supposed to keep cash that is unaccounted for (black money) in the locker. Apart from that, Its our safety deposit locker and you are free to keep whatever you want in the locker.

      Delete
  6. Thank u, this will very much helpful to me.

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  7. If locker's key is lost, how much few can be asked by nationalised bank for small size locker? I know u wrote it depends on bank to bank but any approx idea. Whethervit's in hundreds or thousands?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be in the higher hundreds and could also be over thousand rupees because the banks would want customers to be careful and not lose it every month and ask for a duplicate.

      Delete
  8. When the bank gets the Fixed Deposit done at the time of issuing the locker , do they keep the FD certificate with them as you mentioned it is taken as a security for 3 years or do the customer gets to keep the FD certificate with them ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They will return the certificate to you. They will not keep the certificate.

      But, there will be a marking on the FD Certificate which can help the bank officers identify that this FD is linked to a locker. So, if in future you go to surrender the FD they will ask you to surrender the locker too.

      Delete
  9. Hi! I have a difficult situation. My grandmother and aunt were joint holders in a locker. my uncle was added as a cosignatory (not nominee). later, my grandmother passed away and my uncle went in coma. my aunt added the names of my father and mother as cosignatories. they also operated the locker independently a few times. again, they were not nominees. now, both my aunt and father have passed away. my mother has the keys and is listed as a cosignatory.The only other claimant, i.s. my uncles wife has already said she doesn't want the contents the bank is refusing to allow her access. what to do? i want to avoid going to court and paying a possible hefty court fees! .- Elvis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous - Unfortunately this is a mighty complicated situation. You can visit the bank and find out what they need in terms of documentation and who can operate the locker. However, I dont think this can be sorted out without the involvement of a good lawyer. Pls consult one.

      thanks

      Delete
  10. my wife was working in a bank and had maintained a locker.one day she found that all her jewellery gone.now the main question is when you are working in the same bank and being in a higher position what are the implications of filing an FIR?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a customer you can obviously file legal proceedings against the bank because they should've kept the items in the locker safely. However, since your wife works in the same bank, how this FIR or legal case may impact her is not an area I am qualified to advise on. Please consult a good lawyer.

      Anand

      Delete
  11. What are the items not allowed to keep in a locker??

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    Replies
    1. You can keep anything you want as long as they arent illegal stuff like smuggled goods, animal parts or drugs. it is not advisable to keep cash in the locker but you can do that too.

      People usually keep jewelry, important documents and other valuables in the locker

      Delete
  12. Dear Anand,
    My Name is Ronak. I had Joint account in bank. Me & my wife are joint holder in Locker. But we were separated & took divorce last year with mutual understanding. I want to close that locker & I request my Ex-wife to do support me & sign the document. But she refuses to make sign. I got keys of locker and I want to close so what should I do. Bank management also aware with my problem.
    Pls reply & my mail id : ronakparikh83@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ronak, usually when a locker is opened, one party is set up as the primary (usually the husband) holder and the other as the secondary. The primary account holder can close the locker if they wish. So, just take your divorce documents and visit the bank. They should be able to help you.

      Delete
  13. I want to open n a/c for keeping my personal thiings which bank is good pls let me kw n how much amount is to be deposited

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on a lot of this - where you are from, what banks are operating near you, whether they have open lockers available for subscription etc. Contact some of the banks near you and they can help you.

      Note: the locker fees and the associated FD amounts vary from bank to bank and even within the same bank, would vary from branch to branch. So, unless i actually visit/talk to the bank & branch near your house, i cant comment on that. Apologies.

      Delete
  14. Good Article, i got my answers.....

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  15. Hi Anand,

    First of all thank you very much for the great article.

    I have couple of questions...

    1. In your article you have said it will be good to visit the locker frequently like once in two to three months. We have special situation due to which we won't be able to visit more often than once in a year. Why you recommend frequent visits and how you think it will help?

    2. In your view are there banks which are more safer than others or in other words do you recommend any specific bank(s)?

    Thanks,
    Fiyaz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. The idea behind visiting your locker regularly is to ensure nothing goes missing. The locker does not guarantee the safety of items inside the locker because they do not know what is inside. As long as the locker is not compromised, the bank will not accept any liability. There is no written rule on the number of times you must visit. As long as you pay the yearly rental fee for the locker the bank will be happy to keep your locker

      2. Nothing particular. Lockers from almost all banks are guarded in a similar way. As I said before, the bank will only protect the locker as a whole but will not guarantee the security of the items inside your locker. If someone who by chances has your keys and uses it, you hold the risk - not the bank.

      Delete
  16. Can Bank allote a locker to Regestered Trust

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, why not? I am not aware of any rules/regulations preventing a registered trust from having a locker. Anyways - you can check with your nearest bank to find out.

      Delete
  17. Thank you for all this valuable information.My question is can't we kept money in lockers(Rule of Rbi about this and if any person kept any illegal things in it then what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      Keeping cash or illegal stuff inside a locker is a jailable offense. What you keep inside the locker is your decision but if you are found keeping illegal stuff - you should be prepared to face the consequences

      Delete
  18. Hi, I lost my Iocker key. Me and my husband having joint account and joint holders of locker. Now if we we apply to break the locker,is it necessary to go together OR one of us can go and do all the procedures?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most likely - The bank will ask you to bring your husband along.

      From a banks perspective - what if you go alone and they break the locker. One fine day 3 months later, if your husband asks the bank how did you open without my permission, the bank will be in trouble

      Delete
  19. If the locker key is lost,then what is the procedure

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Contact your bank with proof that you hold a locker with them and file a request for a duplicate key. They may ask you for a fee to re-issue a duplicate key. They may also ask you for a police FIR (depending on the type of locker you have, where the key was lost etc)

      Delete
  20. My father has a bank locker in a bank .Now he has died .now as a legal heir I want to open his locker .he might have kept some cash in locker .is there any problem if cash is found in locker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most likely No. what your father kept in the locker is his personal matter and as legal heir you can take possession of the same. However, if the money in the locker was black or it wasnt proper tax paid income, you may be liable to pay the penalties on the same.

      Delete
  21. Hi,me and my husband have a joint locker in one of the bank,and we are on the verge of divorce, is it possible for the primary account holder(my husband) to modify the agreement for eg: change from operating jointly to individually or mail a letter to bank stating to hold the account or close without the permission or presence of the secondry account holder of the locker?but the key is with me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Usually in case of a joint account, it cannot be closed without both parties being present however the bank may allow either party to operate the locker irrespective of whether the other account holder is present.

      You can contact the bank and ask them this question to be 100% sure.

      Delete
  22. Your blogs r really useful n informative ... I was just going thru one blog...but cudnt stop myself from reading more n more...if u have any Fb pagei will subscribe...or mail me at druparelia@gmail.com... Thanks...and keep it up

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for all the vital information..I have a complicated situation. My grandmother opened a joint locker with my mother. After my grandma expired my bua (fathers unmarried sister) being heir to my grandmother was operating it. Now my bua also expired and my mom has no idea about the details of locker..(name of bank etc). But she knows the worth of jwellery kept there..how can we trace the locker..please help..gg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear friend - I am really very sorry. Without knowing the name of the bank, there is absolutely no way you can actually operate the locker. You can try to visit all the banks where your grandma could have possibly maintained the locker and inquire with the bank staff. As far as I know this is the only option.

      You can ask your mom to search through all her old stuff to find out any info about these lockers.

      Delete
  24. Dear Amanda, Great reading your study on bank lockers perhaps u can help .
    My mother has a locker which was sealed in 1982 .The key and locker have been located.Is there a time stipulation to a locker being sealed? If yes, how do we go about opening it? The manager has informed that he needs a court order, most people are since deceased, what can we do now . Await your response please. Thank you V . Kumar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You need to first consult a good lawyer with proof that the owner of the locker is deceased and that you are the legal heir. With the legal heir certificate you can pay the requisite fines/penalties to the bank to reopen the locker. If there was some litigation where someone else claimed ownership of the locker and the bank closed it, then they will need proof that you have the legal right to open it. Thats probably why the bank manager is asking for a court order.

      Consult a good lawyer they can help you

      Delete
    2. Dear Anand My mother is very much alive and the locker is in her name.But it was sealed in 1982,33 years ago.She recalled that she has a locker and we searched for the key which was found a month ago.Hence we approached the bank. Getting a court order for a 33 year old matter seems difficult coz it relates to Kashmir and militancy started there in 1989.Floofs came in 2014 which destroyed the court premises and the records therein. Knowing the Indian judicial system might need to wait a while longer...
      Please help?

      Delete
    3. I understand the situation but sadly in case of legal matters the court has ultimate jurisdiction.

      Delete
  25. Hi, I am having a joint account with my wife in SBI but things have turned sour between us & she withdrew a huge amount from the joint account that we were having in the same SBI branch without my consent & the money she withdrew was solely earned by me. Also the locker was operated by only her & i never operated that locker since the time we got it. I suspect that she has also taken all the jewellery that has been put in the locker with her. I asked the bank officials to give me the record of the operations of the locker. I even filed an RTI through my lawyer but still the bank officials are not giving me the records. Can something be done in this case? Pls help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous - In case of a joint account both holders are expected to be in good terms because the bank cannot be held liable for damages if one of the holders decides to withdraw items from within the locker or from a joint account.

      The only option you have is to legally approach your wife and try to amicably settle matters. You cannot hold the bank responsible because they did nothing wrong here by allowing your wife to take the money or operate the locker.

      Delete
  26. Hi Anand. When a new locker is opened the banks take some amount as FD. This FD is linked to the locker. I got a locker and a FD the same way in a public sector bank. The bank kept the FD with the locker papers. I only have the FD number when I check my account online. I also have an account in the same bank from where the annual locker rent is deducted. The locker was obtained nearly six years ago. As the FD is meant to cover locker rent for up to 3 years as also to cover the cost in case the locker needs to be opened forcefully, please advise can I insist the bank to cancel the FD and deposit the maturity amount in my account. Recently, when I asked the bank to do so it refused. Please advise how to solve this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous - though its not supposed to happen, banks always tag fixed deposits to lockers and force customers to keep the FD in force until they want to use the locker.

      You can try to argue with the bank or reach out to the banking ombudsman for help. They may agree if you push hard but its doubtful that the bank will allow you to close your FD. If you dont want the locker, you can surrender the locker and ask for FD to be closed which they will do

      Delete
  27. Great Anand bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I had applied for safe deposit vault in my bank, where I m having Demat, savings and current accounts. Since I m no 1 in waiting list,they called me with 2 witness to issue one which they are breaking for defaulting. They have asked me to be there for 3 hours while completing all the formalities. Is it a rule that I have to be present, as I don't know the defaulter customer whose locker they are breaking, I m not a concern party except a waiting customer. Pls guide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The witness thing is more of a bank formality than yours. They need witnesses when they break the old customers locker for future purposes. If not you, they have to get someone else.

      If you are not comfortable being that witness, just politely refuse and ask them to get someone else as witness.

      Delete
  29. I've a query! X & Y are joint holders of the locker in a Govt Bank say Canara Bank. X meets with an accident & becomes physically disabled. Now X & Y wishes to add one of their daughters Z as holder of the locker. To get into a fresh lease agreement with the bank, its a requirement for X to personally visit the Bank & sign the documents but due to his disability he cannot. In this case can the Bank's representative visit X & get the signature? Secondly, after the daughter's name has been included suppose both X & Y expires, what will be the legal position of the locker & the assets inside the lockers? Can the legal heirs claim the locker & the contents of the locker? Thirdly, what will be the case if all the contents of the locker has been bequeathed in the name of Z? Can the other heirs claim the same?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please contact a good lawyer. This is a complicated legal situation and I am not qualified enough to comment on such matters

      Delete
  30. Hi there ...i have a locker in a nationalised bank...can i take my spouse with me in the locker room but she is not a locker holder but a nominee....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its your locker, you can take whoever you want with you. Whether they are nominee or not doesnt matter. You can even take your neighbor or a complete stranger - its your discretion. The bank wont stop you as long as you dont take 8-10 people with you. one additional person shouldnt be a problem

      Delete
  31. Can the bank break open my locker if I do not operate the locker for more than a year even though I hold an account with them and telling them that I can't operate the locker in near future as I live in another city?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as you pay the annual rental fee for the locker the bank will not do such a thing

      Delete
  32. Hi Anand,
    My sister had a locker facility and she had nominated me as a nominee (I have the necessary nominee documents). Unfortunately she met with an accident and passed away. Her father in law recently came to know that I am the nominee and has threatened to file a case in this regard. Let me know whether his filing a case will hinder operating of locker by nominee?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Usually if the primary holder is dead, the nominee can operate the account as long as all the legal nomination related documents are present. However, the legal heir of the primary holder can actually stake a claim as well. You should be consulting a good lawyer

      Delete
  33. My uncle passed away a few year back he had no legal heir, bank sent a notice of locker rent, when i visited the bank and agreed to submit the locker rent as i am the legal heir, they said that i can not submit the locker rent and i should bring court order
    can you please tell, is there any such rule that i can not pay the locker rent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As legal heir you can either ask the bank to close the locker or transfer it to your name. You cannot directly pay the rent which is probably why they are asking for court order

      Provide proof that you are legal heir and your uncle has passed away. They should be able to allow you to trnsfer locker to your name and then you can pay the rent

      Delete
  34. Hi,

    My mom has a bank locker in a goverment bank and my mom met with an accident and soon after her accident my cousin had taken a signature from her without informing her and put his name as a joint holder and after my mom passed away that is on the 4th sep 2014 my cousin and my maternal uncle opened the locker and took away all the jewelleries in the year 2015. We were not aware about this we came to know later on and now they are not ready give us our jewellery and the locker keys the FD is on my name. Please help me and suggest what can i do for this .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should contact a good lawyer to resolve the issue. Ideally when someone is added as a joint holder to a locker, the primary holder is expected to visit the bank branch and introduce them. Am surprised how the bank allowed this to happen with just that signature from your mother

      Delete
  35. Hello Anand,
    I have a query, my wife is having a locker in bank. Can I add my name as a joint holder for the locker later point of time? If yes then what formalities needs to be done for it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vikas, yes you can. Just visit the bank along with ID proof and a photograph and request in writing to add your name to your wife locker. They will usually do it right away

      Delete
  36. Hello Anand
    My sister retired from BoB bank in delhi she has a locker in BoB Delhi branch. After her husband death she lives in London with her son. Due to medical problems she is unable to come back to operate the locker
    Can she issue a authority latter attested by BoB london branch managerfor her brother in delhi to operate the locker in delhi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it would be better if you contact the BoB bank branch in delhi where she maintains the account and inquire about the next steps about how you can operate the account on her behalf.

      Delete
  37. hi anand,
    can i use my friend's/driver's locker.as i can't show my pan number or even can't make a joint locker due to some police or CBI investigation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, as far as I know, using someone else's locker is illegal. Even if you use, that person will be the owner of the locker and do whatever they want with the contents inside. You will not have any legal claim on the locker contents once stuff is kept inside

      Delete
  38. Hi,
    I wanted to know if the bank has missed out on writing the nominees name in its record for the lockerand if the person is made the nominee the nominee of the savings account from which the rent is paid for the locker , does it mean the account holder is the nominee for the locker also.plz guide me.i m in great need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sorry i dont understand the question clearly. Bank will not miss updating nominee info. How do you know if they missed it?

      Delete
  39. My mother has opened a bank locker jointly with my sister, As my mother is bed ridden my sister operates her locker, my sister has influenced my mother for hiding all information regarding locker from me, after my mother's death in future being her legal heir how can i get my share in her locker belongings, my sister being a joint locker holder may grab all valuables and can flee away

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far as I know, in case of joint ownership of a locker, either party is free to do what they want. The other parties legal heir usually doesnt have much say because the other owner is still alive. Anyways, you can consult a good lawyer for expert advise

      Delete
  40. My father maintained a bank locker with important documents in it, who is no more. Due to strained relationship, we don't have any details of the locker / where is it maintained. Is there a way trace out the detail and access the locker?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you at least know what bank it is? Without that i dont think it is possible. If you know the bank, you can try to make a request to the bank via a legal request to inquire if your late father had an account or a locker

      Delete
  41. Hi,

    I have a joint account in name of me and my wife and we both are outside India.Is there any possibility/provision that my parents can access the locker if I give some signed authority document.I made my father as nominee when I opened the locker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you give a power of attorney to your dad I think he can access your locker on your behalf

      Delete
  42. Hi, I have a joint account with my husband, we are both outside India now. Is there a possibility that I can add my mom or dad as a joint account holder so they can access it in my absence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you add - Yes but being abroad I don't think so. The bank would expect you to visit them in person to add your parents as a joint holder of the locker

      Delete
  43. hi,
    My husband has a locker on his name and he has kept my entire jewellery in his locker since the day of wedding,and it is solely his locker where in my name was never entered or neither it was made a joint locker, now he denies keeping the articles with him, i remember the date and day that we toghater have visited the bank.is there any way that i can find out when exactly he has operated it , or how to get the information about it. we are not in good trems and living seperately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Usually items inside a locker are legal possessions of the person whose name it is registered to. If you are not a joint holder you cannot force the bank to do anything for you

      If you are trying for a legal separation/divorce you can use the courts to force your husband to return the items he got from you

      Delete
  44. Hi Anand,

    Very informative article!

    The only question I have is, are renters allowed to put a personal lock over and above the 2 locks provided by the bank?

    Recently, my parents were asked by the bank Manager to remove personal lock citing audit reasons. After that there has been an incident where they found 2 articles missing. I am going to file an FIR and would like to know the answer to the above question to add more substance to the complaint.

    Thanks in advance to your reply!

    Cheers,
    MD

    ReplyDelete
  45. Me and my father were joint account holder and the locker is also in the same account, my father passed away and i am not able to find the keys, can someone from my family (mother and sister) access the locker if they have the key in my absence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If they have a legal WILL that says they are the legal heir of your father then yes they can access the locker. If no such WILL Exists, they can still request access to the property inside the locker to be equally shared as it was a joint holding between you & your father. So, any claims his next generation will have on his assets will include the locker.

      Pls consult a good lawyer as I am not a legal expert. Am just answering based on my knowledge and may be Wrong.

      Delete
  46. hi anand,
    a very nice and informative article.My mother is using a locker in indian bank..Recently when she went to take some things from the locker she couldn't open the locker it was jammed..when asked the manager what is supposed to be done he said he would call upon the particular company locker person to rectify the prob and also added we are supposed to pay the cost of rectifying the damage..i just wanted to know is this the usual procedure and is the customer supposed to bear such costs?
    thanku in advance :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words.

      I have not heard of any such fees for repair as the locker is essentially the banks property and the customer is already paying yearly fee to use the locker. So, it must be the banks responsibility to fix it. Anyways, these are tricky things that greedy banks these days are doing to get the most money from customers. Just ask the manager to show the appropriate clause in the locker rental agreement where it says that the customer will bear the charges and if he can do that, you will incur the cost. If there is indeed such a ruling then pls let me know so that we can inform the other readers of the blog too

      Anand

      Delete
  47. Hi can you please suggest - I hold a joint locker with my ex husband and I am not in India can I ask one of my relatives to access it on my behalf - I have the keys to the locker ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi - No I don't think so. If anyone other than the locker holders access the locker esp. a joint holding like your case, your ex husband could initiate legal proceedings against you (Per my knowledge but you can check with a good lawyer to confirm the same)

      Delete
  48. I opened a locker on joint name with my husband .anyone of us can operate the locker. I asked for making a nomination to which the bank denied telling that we don't make nominations for locker.i really wonder if it's true..kindly guide me on this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lockers very well allow nominations however for joint holding type lockers the second/subsequent holders automatically become the nominees. This is probably why the bank suggested so (Because - What if you nominate your brother and post your death your brother and husband get into a legal spat as to who should gain control of the locker. Get the picture?)

      If it were a single owned locker sure they will allow nominee facility

      Delete
  49. Hi thank u for the valuable information. I have a query. If the locker in my mother in laws name can it be transferred to my name or can I become a Co holder of the account.? If yes will be the procedure for this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both transfer and adding you as co-owenr is possible. Ask your mother in law to visit the bank and go along with her. The officers in the bank can help finish the formalities. As you are the daughter/son in law you may need to show proof of relationship (usually if its son or daughter this type of proof will not be asked)

      Delete

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