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How dormant accounts could help communities

The government is hoping to pass legislation allowing cash lying dormant in unused accounts to be donated to good causes, writes Mark Sharpley

4 March 2008

Putting aside money for a rainy day – and then forgetting about it – seems to be something of a multibillion-pound habit in the UK.

According to the Unclaimed Assets Register, around £5bn is sitting quietly in dormant accounts in the UK, representing a very substantial chunk of an estimated £15bn in unclaimed assets that also include pensions, shares and lottery winnings.

An account is considered to be dormant if, after it has been inactive for an extended period, the account holding bank or building society receives no response when they write to the customer, asking them whether they wish the account to remain open.

Once an account is dormant, or lost, they will stop sending correspondence to an old address, which has the benefit of reducing the risk of fraud and ID theft. However, the customer can reactivate the account at any time.

Now new legislation currently making its way through Parliament could lead to at least some dormant cash going towards...

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