Homes turn into bank vaults

Homes turn into bank vaults


“I might as well be hiding my savings under the mattress.” If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard this over the past few weeks . . . well, I still wouldn’t have enough to take out a mortgage or secure a loan, but I could have done the weekly shop without wincing quite as much.

 The worrying truth is that this is no longer just a disgruntled saying; savers really are being affected by the Icesave scandal, the HBOS instability, the Lehman’s collapse, the Northern Rock nationalisation. This is shown in the recent news that sales on household safes have been soaring.


It would seem that Brown’s and Darling’s never ending stream of billion pound injections and reassurance has not worked. Rattled savers would rather hide their hard-earned cash in their homes than trust struggling banking institutions.


Not only does this drastic decision somewhat undermine efforts to restore confidence in the financial system; it also carries substantial danger in itself. Insurers have warned people against stashing their cash in their own safes, as the cash element of home insurance policies only covers the amount of “loose change” in the house. For example, insurance company esure has a £500 cash limit if a house is broken into, even if the money is held in a safe. This leaves homeowners vulnerable, under-insured and ineligible for compensation if their savings were stolen. Seeing that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme protects up to £50,000 of savers’ deposits if a bank were to fail, the DIY option looks a little patchy in comparison.


With newspapers giving advice on what grade of safe to buy, how to keep the codes secret (don’t reveal them, not even to your own family, no matter how trustworthy you think they are) and how to dispose of the packaging (do not leave the branded box out with the recycling as observant and opportunistic thieves will suss out that you have turned your back on the bank, are sitting on your life savings and will then most likely burgle you) does this signify that we’ve reached a new stage of national panic?  

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