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RayGJAH writes,

It says this happens to a few hundred people a year. But without telling us how many people are using safe deposit boxes, we don't know if a few hundred is a high or low number.


Every local branch bank has at least a few hundred safe deposit boxes for rent, so there are millions of them out there.

But this 2014 article seems to indicate that safe deposit boxes are a dying a slow death as people digitize their important documents and save them in multiple locations for safety on their own.

But my best guess, judging from the dates on the legal documents and labels on the floppy disks (!) I found squirreled away there, is late 1990.

And the only reason it wasn't longer is that we recently received a letter saying that the Bank of America branch at the Six Corners intersection on the Northwest Side was relocating and discontinuing its storage service, and warning those of us with boxes there that if we didn't come fetch our valuables, employees were going to drill them open and move the contents to a "central storage facility."

What I saw on my rescue mission looked like the "after" scene in a heist movie — the walk-in vaults flung wide, more than 10,000 little security doors gaping open, their interiors rifled.

By the end, a bank spokeswoman told me, less than 20 percent of the boxes were rented. The rest had apparently fallen victim to modernization. Bank customers now digitize their important documents and photos and store them in multiple places on the Internet. They do nearly all their banking online and so don't feel a connection to a particular building or branch. And they believe, rightly or wrongly, that home safes are adequate for their security needs.


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