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. In a six-page report submitted to Highland Park police, Mr. Poniz described the watches, coins, documents and other items that had disappeared. He estimated the total value at more than $10 million spent on auction records and sales reports.
This would be one of the biggest losses in American history. Banks see the coffers as more headaches than they are worth it. They are expensive to build, complicated to wait for and not very lucrative. The four largest U.S. banks – JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup – rarely install them in new branches. Capital One stopped leasing new boxes in 2016. It wants a reduction in the number of customers, said a spokeswoman for the bank. “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.” 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. Filmmakers love safes much more than bankers. On film, they are an essential tool for spies – Jason Bourne, for example, recovered money and passports from a Swiss box using a device implanted in his hip – and a magnet for smart thieves. Cinematic burglars searched secure chests by tunneling (“The Bank Job,” “The Bank Job”), drilled through a wall (“Sexy Beast”), alarms (“the king of thieves”), taken hostages (“Inside Man”) or simply lowered the doors (“The Dark Knight”).