Safety deposit boxes headed toward extinction at Chase

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. paperwork / ˈpeɪ pərˌwɜrk / (n.) – written documents, such as forms or letters

    I have accomplished the needed paperwork for my new business.

  2. cavernous / ˈkæv ər nəs / (adj.) – very large or spacious

    The party was held in a cavernous hall.

  3. vault / vɔlt  / (n.) – a locked room where money or valuable possessions are kept

    Archaeologists discovered an underground vault filled with jewelry and gold statues.

  4. profitable / ˈprɒf ɪ tə bəl / (adj.) – can make money or can sell well

    Selling shaved ice treats is a profitable business during the summer months.

  5. valued / ˈvæl yud / (adj.) – considered important or good

    Our company gives out vacation packages to our most valued employees.


Read the text below.

You’ll no longer be able to store your precious coins, jewelry and paperwork at JPMorgan Chase & Co., as the bank has stopped opening new safety deposit boxes for customers.

A spokesman for the bank said Chase decided late last year to stop offering new deposit boxes to customers as a “business decision” but declined to share specifics. Customers who have a box with Chase will be able to keep the box as long as the branch stays open, but they will not be able to open a new one at another location.

Banks long stopped opening up cavernous branches with dozens of teller windows and a vault the size of a one-bedroom apartment. Reflecting the fact that customers may not enter a bank branch for months at a time, most branches are now designed to be small, with multiple ATMs, as well as breakout spaces so bankers can have one-on-one interactions with customers when needed. Chase’s newest branches have not had vaults for some time.

Safety deposit boxes were never a highly profitable business for banks, often offered as an additional service to their most valued customers. The vaults themselves are expensive to install and pose 24/7 security risks due to the valuables that were often stored inside, requiring bank employees to get specialized training to handle vault requests. Meanwhile, customers typically rent a box at a branch for $45-$150 a year, depending on size.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg News.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • What banking issues do you usually experience? Discuss.
  • What improvements would you suggest for banks to have (ex. robot tellers, conversion of cryptocurrency)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • In your opinion, do people still find banks useful? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What bank innovations are there in your country (ex. mobile banking, banks offering insurance)? What do you think of these added services? Discuss.