Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gold rush leads to bank running out safe deposit box space

PETALING JAYA: It's now near impossible to keep your valuables and important documents in banks.
Banks have run out of safe deposit boxes, with those applying for the facility told to “wait indefinitely”.
The problem has been made more acute with many people buying gold bars and jewellery to cash in on the rising price of the commodity and looking for places to keep them safe.
Checks by The Star with several banks revealed that the waiting list for safe deposit boxes had run into the hundreds, with a Maybank branch officer in Kuala Lumpur saying there were 700 people on the list.
“I am sorry, sir, but we have no more boxes to offer. We can't give you a timeframe of when you will be able to get one,'' said a bank officer .
Association of Banks Malaysia (ABM) executive director Chuah Mei Linsaid the waiting list for safe deposit boxes depended on the suitability of the bank premises in terms of location, size and security.
“Banks also have to determine if there is a requisite demand for such services within the community they serve,” she said.
Due to the problem, many people are resorting to buying safes to store their valuables.
An employee of a popular DIY shop in SS2 said more safes were being bought by customers, who included those operating businesses.
“I can sell about 10 to 20 safes each week.
“I have many people walking in to look for a good, dependable safe,” he added.
Depending on the size and make, the prices of safes start from RM500 to RM3,000 and above.
The rental charge for safe deposit boxes by banks are according to size.
A shoebox-sized box is usually rented out for about RM200 a year.
Due to the inavailability of the safe deposit boxes in banks, many private companies have sprouted up over the past few years offering the service.
One company specialising in such services, the Malaysian Royal Safe Deposit Boxes (MSDB), said it was faced with increasing requests for safe deposit boxes.
“We have many walk-in customers daily and have to add new boxes due to increasing demand,'' said a spokesman who identified himself as Dhaliwal.
Most private companies offer insurance coverage of up to RM100,000 per box, compared with about RM10,000 by banks.
The private firms usually charge higher rentals than banks for safe deposit boxes, with rent of RM290 for a standard-sized box a year.
Another such company official said the service it offered was better than banks.
“We are open round the clock throughout the week while banks operate during office hours and are closed during weekends.”


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