FNB in talks to reimburse victims of safety box heist

FNB. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
FNB. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Johannesburg – FNB plans to reimburse customers for the costs incurred following the loss of their possessions in robberies where their safety boxes were stolen late last year.

In a statement on Thursday FNB said that the bank would assist customers by covering the costs of replacing documents such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, passports and identity documents.

The bank will also assist where customers had to pay excess for claims that were successfully submitted to insurance companies.

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Although FNB said it is not legally obligated to do so, the bank will also initiate settlement discussions for uninsured Randburg, Parktown and Sunnypark customers whose safety boxes were tampered with.

“In spite of the ongoing independent and criminal investigations, we hope that this proactive gesture will go some way to limiting the negative impact on our customers,” stated FNB CEO Jacques Celliers.

The outcome of settlement discussions depends on customers providing evidence for the contents of their safety deposit boxes, said FNB.

The bank could not confirm a timeline for the completion of the settlements. FNB would not comment on the police investigation, which is ongoing, but the bank is working with the South African Police Services and the Organised Crime Unit.

So far three employees at its Parktown branch have been suspended.

READ: 250 FNB heist deposit boxes recovered... but they’re mostly empty

The first heist took place on December 18 2016, where more than 300 safety deposit boxes were stolen from the Randburg branch. Two days later, a tip-off led police to discover 250 boxes in a field near the FNB stadium in the south of Johannesburg.

Another burglary took place on New Year’s Eve at its Parktown branch. Two bank vaults were opened and R1.7m and valuables which were inside 30 safety deposit boxes were stolen.

ALSO READ: FNB safety deposit boxes targeted in New Year's Eve burglary

Earlier this year a banner labelling FNB as “Flippen Negligent Bankers" was placed on a bridge along the N1 highway, in Johannesburg.

The banner had defaced the FNB logo with an AK-47 instead of the Acacia tree. The use of the rifle suggested that the banner is linked to reports of burglaries at FNB branches targeting safety deposit boxes.

Customers impacted by the heists are encouraged to submit their information via safecustodyhelp@fnb.co.za.

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