pnb punjab national bank
A Punjab National Bank branch in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh.Wikimapia

The Punjab National Bank (PNB) becomes the first public sector bank to make locker visiting facility free for its customers. The lender had earlier allowed 12 free visits to the lockers per customer in a year.

The new rule, which eliminates an additional fee charged by the bank during locker visits, has been introduced from August 1, 2016.

"It is a customer-friendly move. With this, PNB has become the first public sector bank to make locker visiting facility free for its customers," said an official statement from the public sector lender.

PNB used to charge Rs. 50 per locker visit once a customer crossed the limit of 12 visits specified under the bank's rules regarding locker operations.

"We are getting a very good and positive response from our customers. Particularly, the women customers are really happy with the free locker visit service," the bank said.

SBI, India's largest lender by assets, charges its customers Rs. 100 plus service tax after they exhaust the limit of 12 free locker visits in a year, where as Andhra bank's guidelines on locker operations cap the number of visits to 6 times per quarter, exceeding which, the bank charges Rs. 50 per operation.

PNB's net profit for the June 2016 quarter decreased year-on-year by 31 percent to Rs. 302 crore, while the bank's net interest income—the difference between interest earned by the bank on its loans and the interest given on deposits—also declined YoY by 9.8 percent to Rs. 3,699 crore.

The bank's provisioning for bad loans, however, fell sharply month-on-month by 74 percent for the first quarter of 2016-17 fiscal, while its net Non Performing Assets shot up to 9.6 percent compared to the March 2016 quarter.