Page last updated at 01:51 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 02:51 UK

Bank aims to trace lost customers

Lloyds TSB customers
The bank thinks it may have 120,000 dormant accounts

Lloyds-TSB has become the latest bank to launch a drive to get customers to reclaim money left in dormant accounts.

It has 69m in some 120,000 personal and business accounts that have not been touched for at least 15 years.

As well as advertising the fact that the money is there, the bank is employing a specialist tracing agency to track down the account holders.

Its efforts will also target customers of its mortgage lending arm, the Cheltenham & Gloucester.

The bank said the average amount involved was 575, but 10% of these customers had left more than 1,000 in their dormant accounts.

"These accounts have been long forgotten and our aim is to reunite as many customers as possible with their cash," said Helen Weir of Lloyds-TSB.

"As customers change address, open multiple accounts and their circumstances change, despite our best efforts to keep in touch, it's surprisingly easy for them to lose track," she pointed out.

Central reclaim fund

Early last year, the Halifax carried out a similar exercise and said it would repeat it soon.

"By the end of 2007, we had reunited 14m, in more than 7,000 accounts, out of 44m in our dormant accounts," said a spokeswoman.

People who think they may have money lying around in an old account can already use an online tracing service called My Lost Account, which was launched in January 2008.

It brought together the tracing services of the British Bankers' Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments.

It estimates there could be up to half-a-million lost or dormant accounts in the UK, with more than 400m in them.

Meanwhile, a government bill, which will set up a central reclaim fund to take over money in dormant accounts, goes back to the House of Commons next week for its second reading.

Its aim is to channel dormant cash from financial institutions to the Big Lottery Fund and from there, to social and environmental projects.

In England, the money will be targeted at youth services, financial inclusion, financial capability and social investment.

However, the original bank or building society customers, should they ever come forward, will always be able to reclaim their money in full.

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