Unclaimed deposits, which are 10 years or more, in the public sector banks have grown by over 70 per cent between December 2020 and February 2023 and more than doubled when compared with end December 2019 data.

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“As per information available with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as at the end of February 2023, the total amount of unclaimed deposits transferred to RBI by Public Sector Banks (PSBs) in respect of deposits which have not been operated for 10 years or more, was ₹35,012 crore,” Minister of State in the Finance Ministry Bhagwat Karad said in a written response.

Data supplied, along with written answers on earlier occasions, showed that amount of unclaimed deposits was over ₹20,000 crore at the end of December 2020 and around ₹15,000 crore at the end of December. This showed that over 133 per cent rise between February 2023 and December 2019. 

The number of unclaimed amounts tends to rise due to factors such as demise of account holders, and their legal heirs lacking knowledge about the account.

RBI circular

Quoting the Master Circular on “Customer Service in Banks” by RBI, Karad informed that banks are required to make an annual review of accounts in which if there are no operations for more than one year, and may approach the customers and inform them in writing that there has been no operation in their accounts and ascertain the reasons for the same. Banks have also been advised to consider launching a special drive for finding the whereabouts of the customers/legal heirs in respect of accounts which have become inoperative, i.e., where there are no transactions in the account over a period of two years.

Further, banks are required to display the list of unclaimed deposits/inoperative accounts for ten years or more on their respective websites, with the list containing the names and addresses of the account holder(s).