Lloyds TSB to track down owners of £69 million

Piggy bank and hammer

Lloyds TSB has launched a campaign to reunite customers with £69 million lying in dormant accounts.

The bank is the latest from the high street to raise awareness of the amount of cash sitting forgotten in saving and current accounts, and business accounts. It says it has over 120,000 accounts that have been inactive for 15 years or more, collectively containing around £69 million.

The search for the owners of this money will cover Lloyds TSB, as well as its mortgage and savings arm Cheltenham & Gloucester.

Lloyds TSB estimates that rebates will average around £575 per customer, with only one in 10 accounts having a balance in excess of £1,000.

Helen Weir, group executive director of banking at Lloyds TSB, says the campaign will include contacting account holders with more than £100 in an inactive account. Where balances exceed £1,000 and addresses cannot be confirmed, it will use electronic tracing techniques and potentially manual search methods to track down the owner.

"These accounts have been long forgotten and our aim is to reunite as many customers as possible with their cash,” Weir says. “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.”

Last year, Halifax launched a similar exercise to trace dormant account holders. It estimates there is around £44 million lying forgotten in accounts within its group of companies, including Birmingham Midshires, Bank of Scotland and Intelligent Finance. So far, it has reunited more than £16 million with over 6,500 customers - with the largest balance returned an amazing £500,000.

The government is also investigating the issue of dormant accounts. A bill proposing handing money from these accounts over to the Big Lottery Fund, is due a second reading at the House of Commons next week. Although the money will be used for social and environmental causes, people who later attempt to track their money will still be able to reclaim it in full.

Missing money

If you think you might have money in an account but can’t remember the details, then you can try and trace it yourself with a free online service called mylostaccount.org.uk.

The service, which was launched in January this year, is a joint initiative between the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association and National Savings and Investments (NS&I).

It estimates that there is up to £966 million in dormant bank, building society and NS&I accounts.

Tips for tracing lost money:

1. Don’t pay a third-party company for help tracing lost money. You can use a service like mylostaccount.org.uk for free.

2. If you know the name of the bank or building society that holds your money, then contact it directly.

3. Try and dig out any old addresses that you might have lived at when you originally opened the account.

4. Bear in mind that your name might have changed since you opened the account (for example, if you have married and dropped your maiden surname), or it may have been opened on your behalf by a parent or grandparent.

5. The more information you provide, the better so see if you can find the details of the bank account. For example, the sort code and account number. Mylostaccount.org.uk says there are 150 million bank and building society accounts in the UK and anywhere up to half a million dormant or lost accounts, so having these details will make it easier.

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