KARACHI: Banks’ locker-holders are disturbed over the incidents of lockers breaking, which deprive them of their valuable holdings while they get nothing or peanuts in the name of compensation.
Since 2013, three banks have been targeted and each time security guards were found to be involved. The latest incident happened on Monday when robbers broke open 90 lockers of a Meezan Bank branch in Gulshan-i-Iqbal and walked off with cash and jewellery worth more than Rs10 million.
People were seen crying outside the bank over their loss.
During weekly holidays bank branches are left to be guarded by private security personnel, without any centralised monitoring system to ensure security of a bank branch.
“Banks need to design a centralised system to monitor lockers of each branch 24/7 from head office,” said a senior banker. “This is possible since the technology is easily available in the market.”
Arsalan Wakeel, an expert on wireless technology, concurred, saying: “Now you can watch even from your home what’s going on in your office.”
Rising insecurity has made women abandon wearing gold jewellery. They now mostly wear artificial ornaments and keep their gold jewellery in lockers.
However, banks’ failure to put a foolproof security system to secure lockers is breaching people’s trust.
Despite many incidents of lockers breaking, neither the banks nor the State Bank took any initiative to enhance the security of lockers to make them impenetrable.
The State Bank has the responsibility to protect the savings of the people, like it does when a bank starts sinking. However, in this case it only mandates banks to get insurance against the lockers. But the insurance amount is like peanuts for locker-holders, and that too is paid after a long, painful procedure.
“I will try to get a locker in the head office of a large bank which has entire floor of lockers in the basement and is safe. I will shift my holdings to this new account,” said a former banker. He said it is unbelievable that banks’ lockers could be broken so easily, as we saw in the cases of Meezan Bank and MCB Bank in the recent past.
Ironically, the banks have increased the lockers rent several times in recent months to maximise their profits.