If the ill-gotten resources were preserve in the lockers, it is the responsibility of the said bank and the respective locker holder – Serajul Islam
Zahid Hossain Biplob: Banks and financial institutions (BFIs) in the country have seen a surge in the number of applicants for lockers in recent days as the lockers are treated as the ‘safe haven’ of ill gotten resources.
People who were once reluctant to deposit their valuable assets in bank lockers have started to change their mind after they felt more insecure than ever in the country.
In generally, if the depositors kept their money, gold or valuable documents at bank lockers, they depositors get the insurance coverage facility as well.
But they are deliberately making own lockers at homes too to preserve their resources to consider the unrest situation of the financial sector and the political situation of the country.
Talking to Daily Industry, Md. Serajul Islam, spokesman of Bangladesh Bank said the bank has no rule or bar on the lockers of the bank. The bank itself is responsible to keep the resources of the depositors. The respective bank and the locker holders are aware of the resources of the hidden resources.
“If the ill-gotten resources were preserve in the lockers, it is the responsibility of the said bank and the respective locker holder”, said Islam.
“We have witnessed a growth in the number of people looking for locker facilities,” said Awlad Hossain Chowdhury, Currency officer of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. “We are now running out of lockers at our major branches across the country.”
Similarly, Habibur Rahman, a top level official of Al-Arafah Islami Bank, reported a swell in customers wanting to rent lockers. “The demand has been overwhelming at all our branches,” He said adding that locker facilities ware now available across the country in all state-run and private commercial banks.
The banks has been thinking about extending the locker service to all its branches and expanding the number of lockers where it is presently available due to overwhelming demand, said another official of Dhaka Bank Ltd.
Safe deposit lockers allow people to store their important documents and valuables in a secure environment. The lockers have multiple safety features including double key lock, said Atiqur Rahman Khadem, Sr. Asstt vice-president and manager IBBL at Amin Bazar branch while talking to Daily Industry on Thursday.
Depositors can access these lockers as per their convenience during business hours. The bank branches offering a locker facility have a secure room housing the lockers. It is heavily guarded by security personnel and is under 24-hour CCTV camera surveillance providing maximum security, he added.
According to bankers, people can choose from lockers of different sizes appropriate to their needs. They are required to hold an account with the bank if they want to rent a locker.
The annual charge for a safe deposit locker varies from bank to bank and ranges from Tk 2,000 in most development banks to as high as Tk 8,000 in prestigious commercial banks.
“Almost all the commercial banks of our country offer locker facility to the customers in exchange of a particular annual charge based on the size of the locker. The customers also feel very safe to deposit their personal belongings, mainly gold-ornaments and other important documents in the banks’ safe deposit lockers considering the tight security ensured by the bank said Md. Mahbub-ul-Alam, Managing Director & CEO of the Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd.
An official of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh Limited said that banks had been overwhelmed with inquiries and applications for safe deposit lockers.
According to him, the locker facilities are secure in multiple ways, and the fact that banks have to pay compensation for the property deposited in case of damage has made a significant impact on the general public.
“Each and every asset of banks is insured. Banks are synonymous with safety and they are liable to pay compensation to their customers if there is any kind of loss,” said an official of NRB bank. This is why cash and valuables stored in private homes are being brought to banks for safe keeping. He added that there was minimal chance of loss of property from bank lockers as there are two keys, one with the bank and the other with the customer.
Habib Hasnat, managing director of the NRB Global Bank said the banks witnessing a significant growth in demand for safe deposit lockers, and he predicted that it would increase in the days to come as public life returns to normal and banks resume full-fledged operations.