What are unclaimed deposits?
Money lying in any current or savings bank account or fixed or term deposit maintained with a bank is termed to be unclaimed deposit when there is no transaction or operation in the said account for a period of ten years or more and henceforth they are transferred to a fund created by RBI called the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund (DEAF).
DEAF – Depositor Education and Awareness Fund
DEAF stands for Depositor Education and Awareness Fund. It is a program or fund introduced by the RBI in 2014. It was introduced for the unclaimed funds and depositors. Under this scheme, banks are required to transfer funds from accounts that have been inactive for ten years or more to DEAF within three months of the end of the specified ten-year period. According to RBI, this DEAF is used for the promotion of depositors’ interests and similar purposes related to the promotion of depositors’ interests as may be specified by RBI from time to time. DEAF is defined in Section 26A of the Banking Act, of 1949.
REACH OUT TO US TO FIND YOUR UNCLAIMED DEPOSITS
There are a number of accounts that fall under this rule, some of which are as follows:
- Savings Bank Deposit Accounts
- Current deposit accounts
- Time deposit or term deposit accounts
- Cash credit account
- Cumulative or recurring deposit accounts
- Outstanding wire transfers
- DDs, cashier’s checks, money orders, other deposit accounts, etc.
There are several reasons because of which such accounts or deposits could be lying unclaimed.
- Primary reason for deposits becoming unclaimed is the death of the depositor / account holder without leaving a nomination. Most depositors while opening their account or even afterwards do not carry out the necessary modifications for appointing a nominee in their accounts. In case of their demise, banks are required to follow the legal procedures before handing over the money to the legal heirs.
- Multiple bank accounts being maintained leading to carelessness & chances of some account getting missed out from knowledge & from the records over many years
- Transferable jobs because of which records of old accounts are not kept properly
- Account holders moving abroad
- Loss of physical records & documents pertaining to fixed deposits etc.
How much is lying unclaimed in DEAF?
The total amount of unclaimed deposits transferred by public sector banks (PSBs) to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is INR 35,012 crores as of February 2023. Currently, the State Bank of India (SBI) tops the list of unclaimed deposits worth INR 8,086 crores, followed by Punjab National Bank worth INR 5,340 crores, Canara Bank worth INR 4,558 crores and Bank of Baroda worth INR 3,904 crores.
How To Claim Unclaimed Money?
As per RBI regulations, every bank is required to display the details of unclaimed accounts & deposits on the bank’s website. After verifying the details on the website, you can visit the bank branch with a duly filled claim form, deposit slips, and KYC (Know Your Customer) documents to claim the money. However, in many cases the account holder or the family might not have information & records of their unclaimed deposits or accounts. In that they have no option but to visit every bank’s website to verify such details. An integrated portal for the same is still under process which will ease the process of tracing information of such unclaimed funds.
To claim the unclaimed deposits, account holders must visit the branch where their deposits are held and complete the necessary Annexure-B or Claim Form. It is important to provide all available information about the unclaimed deposit when submitting it.
In addition, account holders must provide a recent photograph, valid proof of identity, proof of address, passbook, proof of term deposit / special term deposit, and other documents as specified by the Bank. Once the submitted documents have been reviewed and found to be in order, the lender will initiate the necessary procedures to release the funds from the unclaimed deposit.
How can a nominee/heir claim the deposit?
In the event of the depositor’s death, a nominee or heir may claim the deposit by personally visiting the bank branch and completing the duly filled and signed Unclaimed Deposit Claim Form.
The nominee or heir must also present valid proof of identity and a copy of the depositor’s death certificate and the relevant passbook / special term deposit / term deposit receipts. These documents are essential for the verification process and the smooth release of unclaimed deposits to the rightful claimant.
Government’s “100 days 100 pays” campaign
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently announced that on June 1,2023 it will launch the ‘100 Days 100 Pays’ campaign. This campaign aims to track down and pay the 100 largest unclaimed deposits in each bank in all districts within 100 days. The main objective of the 100 Days 100 Deposits campaign is to proactively address the problem of unclaimed deposits at banks. The campaign specifically targets the top 100 unclaimed deposits at each bank and in each district to achieve a comprehensive and far-reaching solution. By focusing on these deposits, RBI aims to ensure that the rightful owners or claimants receive their long overdue funds.
In a recent announcement, RBI announced plans to launch a dedicated web portal to facilitate the search for unclaimed deposits at multiple banks. This user-friendly portal will allow individuals to enter their data and initiate a comprehensive search for potentially unclaimed deposits. To improve search results, RBI will incorporate certain AI tools. This initiative aims to expand access and improve information for depositors and beneficiaries.