Answer by Dana Turner:
Safe deposit history cards are useful for several things, including:
- Helping the bank representative to remember to positively identify every person seeking entry to a box and him/herself;
- Ensuring that the bank's policies and procedures are followed by recording the event;
- Securing the in-person signature of the person entering the box; and
- Providing evidence that may be used during an investigation of an event or a crime.
Savvy banks have re-designed ALL of their signature cards to include a space for the thumbprint of the person entering the box, applying for a loan or employment, in addition to that person's signture.
These same savvy banks have also installed a surveillance camera in the vault that records the faces -- not the activities -- of EVERY person entering the safe deposit area.
Answer by Dave McGuinn:
For hundreds of years safe deposit History Cards have been used successfully in financial institutions nationwide. Fortunately, these cards are seldom needed, but when they are needed they become very valuable. Here are some of the uses of history cards.
- If your legal documents (contracts, signature cards, etc.) are misplaced this system becomes your immediate reference source when looking for the box owner.
- If you need historical information about who rented a box during a specific period of time. This has been used in cases where contents were found in an unrented box.
- If you need documentation about whether locks were rotated between the time one renter closes the box and a new person rents it.(LOCKS MUST BE ROTATED BETWEEN RENTERS!)
- If a closed contract cannot be found, the history card will tell you when the box was surrendered and who it belonged to.Unfortunately, many financial institutions nationwide are looking for ways to cut costs and reduce the amount of paper and forms in all areas. This has prompted the elimination of History Card systems in many safe deposit locations.
If you analyze your history Card System carefully, you will find that the small amount of time required to post this history card is much less than the lengthy research time required without it.
Dana Turner also made comments in his earlier response about the use of cameras in the safe deposit area. I agree, cameras are a very good idea and sometime deter crime, but I strongly discourage institutions from putting cameras INSIDE the vault area. Outside cameras are just effective. They film all entries and exits through the vault door and also record the person signing-in for access.
Putting cameras inside the vault makes us have just one more thing to defend against in a court room. During a safe deposit disappearance claim renters can now state that we had a film record of everything they put in their box and this is the reason it now disappeared.
First published on BankersOnline.com 8/6/01