Marcelo has a clothing store in the center of the city of Córdoba. Before the government decreed preventive and compulsory social isolation due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic, it used a safe deposit box provided by a private non-bank company to protect part of the proceeds obtained from sales.
Now, with his activity a month ago completely paralyzed, he needs to access that money as a palliative to survive. But it cannot do it: the companies that offer private safe deposit boxes outside the banks are not contemplated within the rules of the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA).
Consequently, they must remain in quarantine, which means thousands of boxes that have pesos, dollars, jewelry, documents or other types of personal property “isolated” from their owners.
In Córdoba, there are three companies that offer this service: Blinbox, Security Box and Hausler.
Among the three, they have an offer of more than six thousand safes, of which some four thousand are safeguarding assets that their owners cannot access.
Juan Carlos Pinelle is the president of Security Box and assures that he has about 1,400 occupied boxes, 85 percent of his total offer.
“In our customer profile there is everything: merchants, businessmen, professionals, notaries, real estate, who have values that they cannot withdraw and that would allow them to fulfill their obligations; and also retirees who need them for issues such as health treatment or food, “he said.
In order to try to reach a solution, Pinelle sent a letter to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Mining of Córdoba and to Governor Juan Schiaretti, warning them of this situation and requesting them to arbitrate measures that would allow the opening of their premises, located in Ituzaingó street, complying with the social distancing and health prevention protocols against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our concern is not the business one, which we support like many other sectors, but our clients, who are the fundamentals affected by all the reasons stated,” Pinelle said.
In the case of Blinbox, they have an additional impediment: they work inside the Patio Olmos and the shopping malls are closed.
“Our activity is independent from the bank, which is regulated by the Central Bank. We are classified under the Commercial Law and, like any other place that is inside a shopping center, customers cannot enter. It is a strange and extraordinary situation that we are experiencing, unfortunately one has to adapt to the stage and respect the provision, “said Mariano Barrera, director of Blinbox.
On its website, the firm indicates that it has 1,800 boxes. Barrera avoided specifying how many are actually occupied.
From Hausler, meanwhile, they responded to The voice that they are respecting the isolation, with the branches closed to the public until it is established that they can return to operate normally.
“We understand the exceptional moment that the country is experiencing and we want to contribute. It is important to highlight that we keep in permanent contact with our clients through non-contact channels, evacuating their doubts and also advising them ”, pointed out from the company that it has about two thousand boxes occupied on a stock total of three thousand.
“We had people who presented us with some emergencies, but they were explained well, making them understand that it is a matter of force majeure, and even the risk that their mobility towards the branch meant, with the promise that they will have priority and speed as soon as they authorize to operate again. The truth is that all the cases could be contained ”, they added.