The company`s restrictive conditions are not unusual. Wells Fargo`s security contract limits the bank`s liability to 500 $US. Citigroup limits them to 500 times the annual rent, while JPMorgan Chase has a liability limit of $25,000. Banks generally claim – and the courts have agreed in many cases – that customers are tied to the bank`s most current terms, even though they have rented their boxes years or even decades earlier. „All the big national banks would prefer to be out of the security business,“ said Jerry Pluard, president of Safe Deposit Box Insurance Coverage, a small Chicago-based company that runs the boxes. „They see it as a legacy service that`s not strategic for everything they do, and they`ve stopped focusing or resources on it.“ He estimates that about half of the country`s coffers are empty. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the chief federal overseer in the banking sector, said it had no reason to commit. „There is no provision in the Bundesbank`s law that explicitly regulates safes,“ agency spokesman Bryan Hubbard said. „We were shocked, angry and incredulous that this could happen,“ Halajyan said.
„The lawyers gave us stupid counter-arguments and asked, „Why would you put so many valuables in the safe?“ We were like, where else do you want it? The word „safe“ means „safe.“ No regulator formally accounts for customer losses in safes. Pluard, who tracks legal records and information reports, estimates that some 33,000 cases are damaged each year by accidents, natural disasters and thefts. He often gets calls from people who are fighting their bank for compensation. „I tell them it`s hard, almost impossible,“ he said. „What drives bank behaviour is regulatory oversight, and none of the supervisory authorities are attentive to safes. It falls through the cracks. When banks do something out of place, it is very difficult for customers to get some kind of relief. You can rent a personal safe for any length of time, a renewable lease and grant the right to use the rented safe of your authorized agent. Remember that the money you have on deposit in a federal bank or credit union is protected, but items in a safe are not. Tell your insurance company that the items are kept in a safe. They could get away with a lower premium because the items are safer than they would be at home. A safe is a safe container that you can rent to store important items.
These boxes, which can be rented in fixed banks or credit unions, are available in different sizes and are usually made of metal. Depending on the financial institution, they can be as small as 3 x 5 inches or the size of 10 x 15 inches. Security fees may be charged monthly or annually, depending on the terms of the bank`s lease agreement.