Safety deposit box victims considering legal action against FNB

A group of First National Bank (FNB) clients who've been affected by safety deposit box heists say they are weighing up their options and receiving legal council.

Victims are unhappy with the bank's settlement offers for their losses of valuable items, says the group's Kelly Fraser.

Fraser explains that she represents about 200 affected victims, who have lost a combined R230 million in goods.

They lost family heirlooms, cash, coin collections and other valuables in one of three recent safety deposit box heists.

It's the banks responsibility to pay attention to detail and safety, our group alone has R230 million worth of valuables.

Kelly Fraser, representative for FNB safety deposit box heists victims

Fraser says FNB's offers are not fair for all affected victims and appear to be capped at a certain percentage.

She says the group is prepared for "the good, bad and ugly" and will consider its options to decide on the way forward.

If the settlement was goodwill, it would be fair and equal across the board.

Kelly Fraser, representative for FNB safety deposit box heists victims

Meanwhile, FNB executive Lee-Anne van Zyl says the bank is not obligated to pay compensation because of clauses in the terms and conditions which were signed by clients.

However, van Zyl says FNB has made ex gratia settlement offers ranging from 0% to 80% of the claims.

We have 44 clients who simply could not substantiate what they had in their boxes.

Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence

The bank began e-mailing the heist victims on Monday.

Van Zyl says that FNB has assessed all the claims submitted by victims through prudent internal and external processes in order to calculate compensation.

No matter what we offer as a goodwill gesture, it will never be able to replace what has been lost.

Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence

She maintains that both the bank and its clients were victims of a criminal act.

Three FNB employees were also suspended and others dismissed , in connection with a heist at the Park Town branch.

FNB has since discontinued the safety deposit box service.

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