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Published March 27, 2009, 12:00 AM

Safe deposit box might not be best place for valuables

If you have a safe deposit box near the rising Red River, you might have received a call from your banker. At least two area banking companies contacted customers who have safe deposit boxes and asked the patrons to consider removing valuables. “It’s a precaution,” said

By: Jon Knutson, INFORUM

If you have a safe deposit box near the rising Red River, you might have received a call from your banker.

At least two area banking companies contacted customers who have safe deposit boxes and asked the patrons to consider removing valuables.

“It’s a precaution,” said Kurt Mattox, Fargo-based regional president for Wells Fargo Bank.

Customers with safe deposit boxes at his company’s locations in downtown Fargo and downtown Moorhead were contacted.

The decision whether to remove valuables is left up to the customer, he said.

U.S. Bank also has contacted customers with safe deposit boxes in its downtown Fargo and downtown Moorhead locations, spokeswoman Kelly Sprecher said.

Customers need to consider the possibility that floodwater could damage their valuables, and then decide whether to remove them, she said.

Fargo resident Rosella Jangula removed some legal documents Thursday from her safe deposit box in the downtown Fargo U.S. Bank location.

“It seemed like the best thing to do,” said Jangula, who lives in a second-story apartment.

U.S. Bank said Thursday that it plans to shut down its seven branches in the Fargo-Moorhead area today and Saturday because of the flood.

Some banks, especially ones that consider themselves relatively safe from flood damage, aren’t contacting customers.

“We just don’t see the need for that,” said Joe Lempe, president of Northwestern Bank, which has banks in Moorhead, Dilworth, Ulen, Minn., and Hendrum, Minn.

He said his bank has seen few, if any, customers, withdrawing cash in anticipation of the flood.

Bruce Tellefson, vice president of State Bank of Hawley’s Moorhead branch, said his institution didn’t contact patrons with safe deposit boxes.

Nor has he seen many customers withdrawing emergency cash in case of severe flooding.

“But it might not be a bad idea,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter

Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530

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