The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has issued directive to guide regulated financial institutions to establish processes and procedures for reclaim of funds by Dormant Account Holders.
This is to reinforce the Central Bank’s commitment to ensuring that funds of customers of banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions that become dormant are adequately protected. Also, a dormant account register which is a separate register is created in the books of the regulated financial institution to maintain and manage dormant accounts.
“Where…the account has been on the register for three years, the regulated financial institution shall advertise or publish in at least two daily newspapers of national circulation.
“Unclaimed funds means balances on dormant accounts…that are due for transfer to the Bank of Ghana
“Where an account becomes dormant and the balance is less than an amount determined by the Bank of Ghana, the regulated financial institution may transfer the account to the dormant account register or close the account after due notice to the customer of the decision to close the account and transfer funds to the customer or the Bank of Ghana where the customer could not be reached”.BoG
Additionally, the directive is issued pursuant to Section 92 and 143 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) and it’s applicable to Banks, Rural and Community Banks, Savings and Loans Companies, Finance Houses, Microfinance institutions, as well as any other deposit-taking institution as may be determined by the Bank of Ghana.
Giving further insights into accounts that can be classified as dormant, the Bank of Ghana hinted that this includes the following:
“A current or savings account with a credit balance and their derivatives with no ‘customer-initiated activity’ by the account holder or a third party on the account holder’s behalf for a period of two (2) years
“A time deposit account with no customer-initiated activity by the account holder or a third party on the account holder’s behalf for a period of two (2) years after the maturity date of the deposit;
“A prepaid card account and or any other funds belonging to a customer or non-customer of the regulated financial institution that has not been accessed or operated for a period of two (2) years”.BoG
A regulated financial institution shall display a poster in all banking halls on the process of reclaim of funds of dormant accounts transferred to the Bank of Ghana. This shall include information on how accounts of customers may be regarded as dormant.
The Bank of Ghana, however, cautions that this directive shall not be applicable to accounts that are under litigation, fraud investigations by a regulatory authority or law enforcement agencies, any encumbrance including but not limited to liens and collaterals, as well as in credit due to errors including system errors and are under investigation for correction.
Touching on the penalties for non-compliance, the Bank of Ghana warns that a regulated financial Institution in breach of the provisions of this Directive shall be liable to an administrative penalty of not more than ten thousand penalty units.
“The Bank of Ghana may impose any other penalty or take any remedial action that the Bank of Ghana considers appropriate”.BoG