RBI issues guidelines to banks to trace customers with unclaimed deposits

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank came out with comprehensive guidelines on unclaimed deposits under which banks will be required to undertake special drives periodically to find out the whereabouts of customers with such accounts on Monday.

The revised instructions, to come into effect from April 1, are expected to complement the ongoing efforts and initiatives taken by banks and the Reserve Bank, to reduce the quantum of unclaimed deposits in the banking system and return such deposits to their rightful owners/claimants.

Based on the review, RBI has decided to issue comprehensive guidelines on the measures to be put in place by the banks covering various aspects of classifying accounts and deposits as inoperative accounts and unclaimed deposits.

Issuing a notification in this regard, RBI said, a periodic review of such accounts and deposits is part of exercise to prevent fraud in such accounts/deposits.

A savings/current account would be treated as inoperative if there are no customer-induced transactions’ in the account for over two years.

The credit balance in any deposit account maintained with banks, which have not been operated upon for ten years or more, or any amount remaining unclaimed for ten years or more is transferred to the ‘Depositor Education and Awareness’ (DEA) Fund Scheme, 2014.

About tracing customers of Inoperative Accounts/Unclaimed Deposits, it said, the bank shall contact the holder of such accounts through letters, email or SMS.

The email/ SMS shall be sent every quarter, it said.

“In case the whereabouts of the holder(s) of the inoperative account/unclaimed deposit are not traceable, the banks shall contact the introducer, if any, who had introduced the account holder to the bank at the time of opening of the account,” it said.

The banks shall also contact the nominee, if registered, for tracing the customer, it said.

“The banks shall undertake special drives periodically to find out the whereabouts of the customers, their nominees or legal heirs in respect of inoperative accounts/unclaimed deposits,” it said.

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