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Why banks are not aware of what customers keep in safe boxes

Are banks aware of what is stored in the Safe deposit box

Barclays Bank, Kingsway branch, located on Mama Ngina Street

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations announced that it had busted fake currency in a safe deposit box at Barclays Bank.

Kenyans were left with a myriad of questions on whether banks are aware of what is stored in their safety boxes.

However, it is possible for banks to have zero clues on what their customers store in the safe deposit banks they have provided for them.


When a client requests for a safe deposit box, they do so under an agreement dubbed the "contents unknown" meaning the bank is not aware of hat you are keeping there.

Privacy of safe deposit boxes

However, one signs an indemnity confirming that what they are storing there is legal. Notably, this applies to clients who have an account at the bank.

Banks are usually not responsible over what a client stores in the safe deposit box and the financial institution can not be held liable in case of loss of the property kept there.

If a client stores money in their safe deposit, that does not mean the bank has accepted the money as a transaction made at the financial institution, hence it is not recorded in the bank's financial books.


A safe deposit box has two keys — one is issued to the client and the other remains with the bank. However, to access the valuables in the safe, both the customer and a bank officer have to be present to open the box using both keys.

Legal requirements

Banks say that assuming responsibility of the safe deposit box would beat the logic of letting clients keep the vaults, since they are used for storage of confidential items such as title deeds, gold coins, expensive jewellery, a copy of one's will (with the original copy deposited at the lawyer's office) and other valuables.

Once a client expresses interest in renting the box, he or she pays for the service. After the client fulfills the legal requirements and laid down procedures on the safe deposit box. 


Kenyans living abroad are some of the consumers who have opted for safe deposit boxes as they can live abroad knowing that their important documents will not fall into the hands of undesirables.


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