Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued 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.
The central bank called for steps to trace the customers of inoperative accounts or unclaimed deposits including their nominees or legal heirs for re-activation of accounts, settlement of claims or closure.
RBI also stressed a periodic review of such accounts and deposits, measures to prevent fraud in such accounts or deposits, and grievance redressal mechanisms for expeditious resolution of complaints.
These instructions are expected to complement the ongoing efforts and initiatives taken by banks and the RBI, to reduce the quantum of unclaimed deposits in the banking system and return such deposits to their rightful owners or claimants.
According to rules, the credit balance in any deposit account maintained with banks, which has not been operated upon for ten years or more, or any amount remaining unclaimed for ten years or more, is required to be transferred by banks to Depositor Education and Awareness (DEA) fund maintained by the central bank RBI.
This latest circular applies to all commercial banks (including regional rural banks) and all cooperative banks.
The revised instructions shall come into effect from April 1, 2024.
In August last year, RBI launched a Centralised Web Portal UDGAM (Unclaimed Deposits – Gateway to Access information), for the public to facilitate and make it easier for them to search their unclaimed deposits across multiple banks at one place.
Given the increasing trend in the number of unclaimed deposits, RBI had then said it has been undertaking public awareness campaigns from time to time to sensitise the public on the matter.
Further, through these initiatives, the RBI maintains it has been encouraging members of the public to identify and approach their respective banks for claiming unclaimed deposits.