RBI asks banks to locate customers and refund unclaimed deposits

RBI has asked banks to locate and refund unclaimed deposits worth over 1,700 crore lying idle with them, bringing hope to millions of customers and their legal heirs.

RBI has, inter alia, instructed banks to conduct annual review of accounts in which there are no operations. Banks may allow operation of such accounts after due diligence and no charge should be levied for activation of inoperative accounts, RBI said.

RBI wants banks to play a more active role in finding the whereabouts of the accountholders of unclaimed deposits/ inoperative accounts in view of public interest.

Towards this, RBI has asked banks to display the list of unclaimed deposits/inoperative accounts, which are inactive or inoperative for ten years or more, on their respective web sites.

The list so displayed on the websites must contain only the names of the account holder(s) and his/her address in respect of unclaimed deposits/inoperative accounts.

In case such accounts are not in the name of individuals, the names of individuals authorised to operate the accounts should also be indicated. However, the account number, its type and the name of the branch should not be disclosed on the bank's website, RBI said.