€160m worth of 'forgotten' bank account funds held by the NTMA
A €160m fortune in forgotten money is in the hands of a state agency waiting to be claimed, it has emerged.
There has been a steady rise in the amount of money in unclaimed savings from all the banks, building societies and An Post along with life insurance policies that have not been cashed in.
The funds are held by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and go to the Government if not claimed.
The amount of unclaimed savings and unclaimed assurance policies had jumped from €132.4m in 2010, a spokesman for the NTMA confirmed.
Known as the dormant accounts fund, the money ends up being distributed to projects that help those with a disability or those who are educationally disadvantaged.
However, consumers could reclaim their funds at any time, the NTMA said.
The NTMA said that there was €143m held in the dormant accounts fund in 2011, but another €43m was paid into it that year. Consumers then claimed €24m, leaving €162m.
A total of €8m was taken out of the fund in 2011 and given by the Department of the Environment to projects that qualify for funding.
A dormant account is one where there has been no transaction for 15 years or more.
There was close to €57m from AIB that had not had any transactions on the accounts for 15 years. The same amount has been untouched in Bank of Ireland accounts.
But An Post accounts for the biggest chunk of forgotten money, at €105m.
An Post, the banks and building societies must try to contact the owner of the account if there have been no transactions for 15 years. If no contact can be made, the money is transferred to the NTMA.
Anyone who thinks they have a dormant account should contact the financial institution where they opened the account.
If it no longer exists, consumers should contact the Irish Banking Federation. The federation has published 'A Guide to Dormant Accounts' that is available in all institutions and includes claim forms.