CBN to invest banks dormant account balance in govt. instruments

Monies in banks dormant accounts will be mopped up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) into a special account already created by the apex bank from where such monies would be invested in government securities.

The central bank however said the monies would be returned to the beneficiaries not later than ten days of notice.

This is contained in the Exposure draft of the Guidelines on the Management of Dormant Accounts drafted in April 2023.

The document voids October 7, 2015, Guidelines on the Management of Dormant Accounts and Other Unclaimed Balances by Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria.

According to the apex bank, it shall open a pool account to warehouse all funds left in dormant savings and current and domiciliary accounts.

According to the NIBSS, as of December 2021, there were 191.4 million bank accounts in Nigeria, out of which 133.5 million were active.

Meaning there are 57.9 million inactive bank accounts both savings and current in Nigeria. A report said that about N500 billion have been left by their owners in abandoned bank accounts as of January 2021.

The bank said it would invest the warehoused funds in Treasury Bills and other interest-yielding ventures and return the profits to the owners of the accounts upon reactivation.

In the circular to commercial banks, the CBN said dormant accounts shall be reopened and the funds, including interest rates, returned to the owners upon request within two days.

It directed commercial banks to continue paying interest into dormant accounts and maintain periodic communications with account owners via emails, text messages, and other necessary mediums.

CBN stated that dormant and unclaimed accounts are targets of fraudsters, hence the move to warehouse the funds in a joint account known as “Unclaimed Balances Trust Fund Pool Account.

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