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HSBC reaches out to dormant account customers

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09/09/2008

HSBC is writing to more than 12,000 customers as part of its campaign to reunite them with millions of pounds in forgotten current and savings accounts.

The 12,000 customers have accounts that have not been used for more than 15 years. HSBC will also be actively trying to trace a further 5,000 customers with similar accounts but who no longer live at the last addresses the bank has on record for them. In total, these 17,000 customers could reclaim more than £24m.

HSBC’s campaign is part of a Government initiative to reunite people with their lost or forgotten cash. Under government regulations coming into effect next year, accounts that have not been used for 15 years will be classified as forgotten accounts. Money in these accounts will then be transferred to a Government fund and used to finance a range of programmes. The money will however always remain the property of the customers who, should they get back in touch with their bank, will still be able to reclaim their money at any time.

In addition, over the coming months, HSBC will seek to contact all customers with accounts that have not been used for more than two years. If these customers do not re-activate their accounts, they are potentially ‘at risk’ of having their savings transferred to the Government scheme.

Carlos Wanderley, general manager of HSBC customer propositions, said: “We are planning a sustained campaign of correspondence, active tracing, advertising and publicity. We will also be conducting research into the primary causes of account dormancy, which we hope will allow us – and the industry – to model accounts that are most likely to become dormant in future.”

Of the 17,000 accounts not used for 15 years or more, just 276 of them account for about 40% of the dormant account balances (£9m). Indeed, 17 accounts have balances of more than £100,000. The average amount in 15 year + dormant current and savings accounts is £1,400.

Wanderley added: “It is quite possible that some owners of these funds are well aware it is there as some people do leave their money untouched for long periods. Obviously we’re happy to hold it for them for as long as they like, but we would like to hear from them so that we can ensure that it is working effectively for them.”

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