The Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that banks transfer funds in accounts that have been dormant for at least 10 years into a trust fund account.
The disclosure was contained in a recently released exposure draft of guidelines on the Management of Dormant Accounts, Unclaimed Balances and Other Financial Assets in Banks and Other Financial Institutions In Nigeria.
In a circular signed by the Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department of CBN, Chibuzor Efobi, it stated that the development comes on the heels of a request by Deposit Money Banks and other stakeholders for the apex bank to clarify procedures concerning the management of dormant and inactive accounts in the country.
CBN called for inputs within three weeks from banks and related stakeholders.
The draft stated that banks and other financial institutions must transfer all unclaimed funds into an Unclaimed Balances Trust Fund pool account, which will be domiciled at the CBN.
CBN explained that the balances would be invested in government securities like Treasury Bills and returned to the beneficiaries within ten days of notice.
CBN said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria shall open and maintain an account earmarked to warehouse unclaimed balances in eligible accounts. The account shall be called the ‘Unclaimed Balances Trust Fund Pool Account.’”
However, the move by the CBN in 2021 was greeted with heavy criticism by economic experts; the crescendo was a lawsuit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP.