Money deposits will be gone when banks go bankrupt. How about safe deposit boxes? Will safe deposit boxes go to creditors as well when the bank goes bankrupt? What are the protections provided to depositors?

  • 1
    What country are you in? In the US, money is not 'gone' when a bank goes under. There are limits, but yours is a vague generality that's not true. Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 4:12
  • @JoeTaxpayer: I have edited the question to make it more specific.
    – curious
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 4:15

1 Answer 1


Safe deposit boxes are rented out to customers, and their content is not bank's property.

Money deposits are not being taken by the creditors if a bank goes bankrupt, for the same reason - its not bank's money, it belongs to the depositors. However, frequently banks go bankrupt because they do not have enough cash at hand to pay back the depositors. In this case, unless insured (up to $250K in the US, EUR100K in EU), some or all of the deposits may not be immediately (or even at all) available. Depositors become creditors of the bank in the bankruptcy proceedings.

Safe deposit box, however, is rented to the customer, and the content is not removed by the bank to be used elsewhere, as happens with monetary deposits. So even if the bank is bankrupt and doesn't have enough money to cover the monetary deposits, the content of the safe deposit boxes doesn't magically disappear, and the owner can get it back. The access to the deposit box itself may be limited due to the bankruptcy, but the content will remain there waiting for its owners.

In the United States, when a bank goes bankrupt, FDIC takes over it and its assets. Safe deposit box rental contract is an asset. It is taken over by the FDIC and will be sold to a buyer (usually as a part of the whole branch where the box is located), who will continue operating/servicing it.

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