BOV increases safe deposit box fees fourfold, says old fees did not cover costs

Tuesday, Sep 22 2015 01:30 PM

Bank of Valletta has increased the prices it charges for the use of its safe deposit boxes by almost fourfold as in what it says was a “long overdue review” and a bid to cover the costs and risks involved.


An irate customer pointed out to this paper that the price of the smallest safe deposit boxes, measuring 10,000 cubic centimetres had suddenly gone up from €35 a year to €120 a year. The bank has also introduced a “one tie setup fee” of €50.

The fee for safe deposit boxes from 10,001 cm³ to 20,000 cm³ has been increased from €50 to €180, the price for a box between 20,001 cm³ to 40,000 cm³ has been raised from €70 to €240 and the fee for a box between 40,001 cm³ to 80,000 cm³ has been raised from €80 to €360.

The bank also used to offer boxes larger than 80,000 cubic centimetres, which were rented out at €100 per year but these seem to be no longer available.

A spokesperson for Bank of Valletta confirmed the increase in rental fees but said these were introduced because the old fees did not reflect the high risks and costs involved.

“The bank carries out periodical reviews of its tariff for all products. In the case of safe deposit lockers, such a review was long overdue. The increase is the result of an in-depth analysis of the costs and risks involved in offering the service. The previous charge which was being attributed to the service did not reflect the high risks and high costs currently involved in the offering of the service.”

The spokesperson said that the availability of safe deposit boxes in BOV branches is “very limited and the bank aims at just covering the expenses that include insurance costs.”

“There is a free market in the provision of safe deposit boxes and customers are free to choose the offers that they consider are the most competitive.”

Asked if the bank had been contacted by the consumer authority or association over the staggering increase in prices, and if there had been a decline in safe deposit box rentals, the spokesperson said these questions were of a commercially sensitive nature and the bank would not like to comment on them publicly.

Bank of Valletta has been under the media spotlight recently over a number of controversial issues. The Malta Independent has carried extensive reporting on several of these issues, including the bank accounts opened by former PL candidate Joe Sammut in relation to the Libyan visa scam, to the handsome retirement package afforded to Parliamentary Secretary Michael Falzon and the internal documents leaked to him which he used to defend himself, to the state guarantee on Electrogas, the private consortium developing the gas-fired power station in Delimara.