A HALL Green couple are pleading with NatWest customers to check valuable items left with the bank for safe keeping are still there after staff lost the deeds to their house.
Last week the Solihull News reported how Cheswick Green pensioner Hayat Panwar was told her safety deposit box containing thousands of pounds worth of family heirlooms had gone missing from the Solihull branch of NatWest.
The story has encouraged pensioners Patrick and Catherine Whelan to speak about their own ordeal, which happened back in 2009.
“I couldn’t believe it when I read about this poor lady - now we know we are not the only ones,” Mr Whelan, aged 73, said.
The pensioner deposited the deeds of his property into the Stratford Road, Hall Green branch of NatWest for safe keeping in 1992.
“That branch of NatWest closed and I was told my accounts had been moved to the Shirley branch. I assumed the deeds had followed,” Mr Whelan added.
But when he visited the Shirley premises in 2009, to add some more documents for safe keeping, he was told by staff they could not find his deeds.
Staff sent Mr Whelan to several local branches to try to locate his paperwork, but the documents were never found and he eventually accepted a £500 offer of compensation.
“I reluctantly accepted the £500 but it was never about the money, I wanted the deeds to my house back.
“You work hard to own your own property and you want the documents to prove it. All I have now is a single piece of paper which proves I own the property, which is not the same as the full deeds - the envelope they lost must have been an inch thick.”
His wife said she wanted people to be aware of what had happened to them.
“There might be other people in this position. It is important they go to the bank and check their valuables are safe. You give these type of things to the bank because you think it is the right thing to do. We won’t be making the same mistake again,” Mrs Whelan, also 73, added.
A NatWest spokesperson said, “We replaced the deeds belonging to Mr Whelan in April 2009 and compensated the customer for the inconvenience caused.”