United Bank CEO found idea overseas
Published 11:41 am Monday, January 19, 2009
By By MaryClaire Foster
When Bob Jones, President and CEO of United Bank, traveled to London several years ago he stopped on the street to watch people quickly coming in and out of what he thought were storefronts.
Jones said eventually he learned what they were going into was a personal storage place with individual compartments accessed electronically.
Using this as inspiration, along with feedback from customers following Hurricane Ivan, Jones began working on a better personal storage device for customers than the typical safety deposit box and came up with Personal Storage Compartments.
Jones mentioned that the particular procedures involved with accessing a safety deposit box, like being accompanied by a bank employee and signature verification, are what most customers view as the biggest “hassle.”
Because the Compartments are the first and only of their kind in the U.S., United had to go through its own set of hassles in securing insurance and creating regulations for them.
After insurance was secured and regulations created, the Compartments were introduced at the new Magnolia Springs branch in February 2007. They are now offered at three United Bank locations, all of which are new and only offer the Compartments.
Jones said all new branches of the bank will offer only the Compartments and not safety deposit boxes.
He acknowledged that the Compartments are not right for everybody and do not take the place of safety deposit boxes, but it’s not intended to either.
Jones said that all branches will feature one or the other, Compartments or safety deposit boxes, and not both as to avoid confusion.
The same as safety deposit boxes, the Compartments cost $100 a year and are fire resistant but not proof and not flood proof. They are accessed by personal pin codes or by swiping a card.