By Josh Slowiczek

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento resident almost missed out on his trip to Mexico when he found out he couldn’t access the safe deposit box where he was storing his passport.

Mike Tinney was shocked when he showed up to his local Bank of America on Wednesday. The branch was temporarily closed due to COVID-19. A sign on the door instructed him to call a customer service number that then directed him to a webpage, he said.

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Despite calling customer service for days, Tinney said he couldn’t get a hold of anyone who could help him get inside the closed bank.

It’s an issue occurring more often as the pandemic drags on.

Thankfully, most of the major banks now provide appointment services so that their customers can still access safe deposit boxes even in the event of a branch closure.

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If you find yourself in such a situation, call the branch and check online. Information on how to make an appointment should be there. Still, the process might take a few days, according to a regional spokesperson for Bank of America. In some urgent cases, the process could be expedited.

In order to avoid these situations, the financial services company Bankrate suggests removing items you might need right away like passports, medical directives and living wills.

Other items like personal papers, jewelry and business records should probably be kept in the box, according to Bankrate.

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After Tinney called us Friday afternoon, he said he was assisted by a banker from a different Bank of America branch and was able to get to his safe deposit box. He retrieved his passport just in time for his flight on Monday.