FNB kills safety deposit box service after heists

Johannesburg - Months after robbers hit hundreds of First National Bank (FNB) safety deposit boxes, the bank is moving to discontinue safe custody storage at its branches.

Burglars hit FNB safety deposit boxes in December and on New Year’s Eve, stealing contents from over 300 storage units at branches in Randburg, Parktown and Sunnypark.

Millions of rands in contents were stolen while crooks dumped about 250 empty deposit boxes in the veld near the FNB Stadium in the south of Johannesburg.

The theft sparked outrage and despair among customers, with one FNB safety deposit box holder having told Fin24 that thieves made off with a World War II gift.

According to reports, two suspects allegedly linked to the heists were arrested and appeared in court in February.

In January, FNB said that while it is not legally obliged to make settlements regarding the robberies, it would still initiate settlement discussions for uninsured victims.

Subsequent to this, FNB announced late last week in a blog post that it would discontinue new applications for safe custody storage in branches.

“FNB has taken a decision to discontinue the provision of safe custody storage in branches that offer the service,” said Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence, in a blog post.

“The decision follows the bank’s regular review of service offerings to align with its business strategy, as well as the assessment of the product’s sustainability. With immediate effect, FNB will not accept any new safe custody applications from existing or new customers,” said the bank.

Van Zyl further wrote that the bank plans on notifying impacted individual and business customers to “make arrangements to collect their safe custody valuables from the branches in which they are stored”.

“While customers are advised to make collection arrangements by 1 June 2017, the bank will give customers until 30 June 2017 to complete all collections,” said Van Zyl.

FNB said it will attempt to contact every affected customer, and that users of the service can also contact their respective branches to make collection arrangements.

“In the interim, the bank continues to remind customers that it is necessary to take out suitable insurance cover for all valuables held in safe custody, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the service,” said Van Zyl.

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