Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Fact of the Day: A Dearth of Safety Deposit Boxes

Central district is filled with banks like Bank of China and HSBC
Here's an interesting fact -- there is a shortage of safety deposit boxes in some Hong Kong banks.

Apparently the situation is so severe that some financial institutions have stopped taking new customers or put them on a wait list that can take years.

Safety deposit boxes in prime locations like Central and Tsim Sha Tsui have been full for years.

And since space is at such a premium in Hong Kong, there are suggestions banks shouldn't even offer the service of safety deposit boxes since they take up so much room.

"We no longer accept applications for the biggest boxes because the queue is so long," a staff member at China Citic Bank's Central branch said, adding there were more than 100 people on the list.

"My understanding is that some banks have stopped providing safety deposit boxes at their Central branches, so quite a lot of the original customers there have flocked to us."

She said it was unlikely that those who used the large boxes to hold items like property title deeds would want to give up the boxes, she said.

Also, many Hong Kong people like to store valuable items like jewellery in these safety deposit boxes as they don't have space for safes in their own homes.

The annual charges for safety deposit boxes can range from HK$300 to HK$12,000 depending on the location and size, ranging from that of a shoe box to a mini fridge.

Even though there is a long wait list for safety deposit boxes, not many people have gone out to buy their own safes.

Perhaps people want to avoid the possibility of robberies at home and so leaving valuable things in the bank seems to be the best bet... if you can get a box.

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