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Changing The Locks On Surrendered Safe Deposit Boxes

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We are a community bank in Kentucky. One of our employees recently attended a safe deposit seminar presented by Ken Golliher. After attending, we have brought up the fact that we should be changing the locks on surrendered boxes prior to reissuing them. We are having trouble convincing our security guy that this is suppose to be a standard practice. Our ADT locksmith informed us that we was only aware of one bank in the state of Kentucky that is doing this. Could this be true?

One of several procedures advocated in the seminar is that "Locks should be changed each time a box is surrendered." It is clearly the preferred practice, but it is not the standard practice in any of the states where I have presented this topic, including Kentucky.

Changing the locks eliminates the possibility that the previous renter could have made a copy of one of the keys or kept one of the originals he said was "lost" when he surrendered the box. Failing to change the locks simply builds a weakness into the system. It is not a fatal weakness, just one that should be eliminated if it is feasible.

Most custodians do not change locks on surrender simply because older systems require a locksmith to do so - the practice would be prohibitively expensive. However, on some more modern systems, the locks can be changed under dual control by the custodian. The entire lock assembly is quickly removed and attached to another box with no special tools or skills; there is no expense beyond the initial cost of the system. In my opinion, having that feature in your system and failing to use it would be negligence.

So, what percentage of custodians change locks is less a function of geography than an issue of box design. In the series of programs you mentioned, there were 95-100 attendees and, in response to questions asked at each session, no more than 5-7 indicated they actually changed locks when a box is surrendered. All of those who did change locks on surrender had the more modern, interchangeable system and were making the change without the assistance of a locksmith.

First published on 5/06/02

First published on 05/06/2002

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