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Safe-Deposit Boxes: A Relic of the Past?
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 6:25 AM

Consumers have long turned to their financial institutions to keep their money, important documents and other valuables secure within their rented safe-deposit boxes. But is their use still relevant?

A recent article by Crain’s New York Business reveals that customers and financial institutions alike are steadily moving away from the safe-deposit box, with a number of factors being credited for its gradual abandonment.

According to the article, the contents within safe-deposit boxes are neither FDIC ensured nor immune from entities such as the IRS – facts that don’t sit well with safe-deposit box users. But one of the bigger factors is the fact that many of the box’s contents (excluding tangible items) such as important documents can be stored safely online. 

What about valuables? The article cites that many people have turned to purchasing safes and vaults, especially since the financial crisis.

The article also states a growing distrust toward banks, as well as a false illusion of insecurity. Bank robberies and burglaries have gone up in recent years, but law enforcement experts say that bank safe-deposit boxes are still more secure than leaving valuables in a home safe.

And, when it comes down to it, the public is doing the majority of their banking at home. Visits to branches have decreased significantly since the advent of online and mobile banking and, as a result, the rental of safe-deposit boxes has declined as well.