Q:

What happens to unclaimed bank accounts?

A:

Quick Answer

Unclaimed checking and savings accounts are turned over to state unclaimed property offices when the accounts have had no activity and banks are unable to locate owners. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the National Credit Union Administration hold funds from federally insured financial institutions that have failed.

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Full Answer

States laws require banks to turn over unclaimed bank accounts to state unclaimed property offices, which hold the funds indefinitely and attempt to locate the owners. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators has a website with links to the unclaimed property search programs in each state and a database of government unclaimed property records called Missing Money. Searching state unclaimed property databases and reclaiming lost money is free, and USA.gov warns consumers against scams from people who claim to be from government agencies and offer to locate lost bank accounts for a fee.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation holds unclaimed insured bank account balances from failed banks and has a search engine on its website that bank account holders can use to locate missing funds. The National Credit Union Administration has a listing of unclaimed deposits from federally insured credit unions on its website. Unclaimed federally insured bank or credit union deposits are not held indefinitely. Account holders must claim the funds before the insurance period lapses.

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