Why We Cannot Let You In Your Lockbox

Mar 14, 2014 | Services

 “I can’t find my lockbox key. Can you let me into my box?” or “I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to run home and get my key.  Please just let me into my box, your supervisor will vouch for me.”  These are variations of comments that we hear on a regular basis.  When we hear that we know that the customer does not understand how the security of their Safe Deposit Box works.

To get all our readers on the same level, let me explain what I’m talking about.  A Safe Deposit Box is commonly called a lockbox which is technically incorrect.  In banking a “Lockbox” is a service provided by banks to companies for the receipt of payment from their customers. Under the service, the payments made by the company’s customers are directed to a special post office box, rather than going to the company. The bank will then go to the box, retrieve the payments, process them and deposit the funds directly into the company’s bank account.  We do not offer this service so we know that this is not what our customers are referring to when they come in.

What they want to do is to get into their Safe Deposit Box.  A Safe Deposit Box is a box - usually located inside a bank, hotel, casino or post office - which is used to store valuables. A safe deposit box is rented from the institution on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. The box is kept in a secure place and each individual box has its’ own door and lock. Each lock can be accessed with keys, pin numbers or some other security pass depending on the style of the locks. Valuables such as documents and jewelry are placed inside and customers rely on the security of the building to protect those valuables.

At First National Bank and Trust Co in Clinton we rent out our Safe Deposit Boxes on an annual basis. Our Safe Deposit Box doors are opened by the use of two keys.  If you come in and look at one of our boxes you will see two key slots.  That is because there are two locks on each box.  BOTH locks have to be unlocked before the lever can be moved to open the door that contains the box. 

One of the locks is keyed to be opened with a “guard key”.  The bank keeps the guard keys in a secured location and we do not give these keys out.  Only authorized personnel have access to these keys. When we use the guard key it unlocks ONE of the locks.

The second lock is opened with the use of the “renter’s key”. When customers rent a box from us we always give them two renter’s keys.  These are the ONLY two keys that can be used in the second lock.  When customers rent a box from us we always recommend keeping the keys in separate areas so that if something happens to one of the keys the other is still available for use.   If the customer cannot find either of the keys then no one can get into the box.

What happens then?  If the customer cannot find either of the keys that we gave them OR if we have a court order to open the box, the bank will contact a locksmith that is certified to open safe deposit boxes.  Because of the dual locks affecting one lever, it takes a specially trained locksmith to “drill the box”, which means to open the door to where the box is.  We will set up an appointment with the locksmith AND the customer to open the box.  The customer MUST BE present before we can open the box without a court order.  Fees for this procedure depend on how much the locksmith charges us but they usually range from $100.00 and up.

I hope this information answers some of the questions that you may have about our Safe Deposit Box service.  As you can see it is a secure place to keep those important papers or valuables. We even have a lot of our customers place videos or pictures of their possessions in the box for safe keeping in case of the need for insurance claims.  Just make sure that whatever you keep in the box is something you can wait until regular banking hours to get to. 

If you would like more details about these boxes any one of our employees would be happy to help you.  We also have a list of the sizes and prices of our Safe Deposit Boxes in our brochure which is right on our home page just below the log on for Online Banking. 

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