A bank is known for being a place where cash and valuables can be kept safe. This protection of cash and valuables is ensured by the sophisticated security system that is installed in these banks. Therefore, for the purpose banks serve for their clients, it is almost unimaginable that they exist without a security system. But there is a bank in India that is never protected by locks.
It is the Shani Shignapur branch of United Commercial Bank (UCO Bank) that has no locks and is hence the only “lockless” bank of the country. The reason behind the bank not using any locks in this branch is quite interesting and has connection with the famous temple of Shani Shignapur.
Shani Shignapur is a small village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. The village is known for its famous Shani temple, a shrine who presiding deity is Lord Shani. The temple is visited by more than 5,000 devotees every day during the weekdays, while on the weekends, it is thronged by as many as 1,00,000 devotees.
It is believed that the temple is “jagrut devasthan” (alive temple), meaning that the deity resides in the temple icon. Also, the deity of the temple is believed to be “swayambhu” which means that it emerged on its own from the earth in the form of a black, imposing stone. No one knows the exact time since when this Swayambhu Shanaishwara structure has been present at this site.
Residents of this village believe that Lord Shani punishes anyone who attempts theft and for this reason, the houses here have no doors. Confirming to the belief of locals, there have been no cases of theft in this village in the recent past.
The officials of UCO bank observed the faith of the people and took the risk of opening a lockless branch here in January 2011. UCO bank officers obtained an official permission from the Reserve Bank of India to open a branch that will have no locks since as per rules and regulations by the apex bank, this wasn’t possible. But RBI took it as a special case and granted approval. Initially, when the branch was opened, there was no ATM, but now that too has been started.