Mumbai, Feb 2: In a bid to help people who have unclaimed deposits lying with banks, RBI on Monday directed banks to prominently display such account holders' names on the websites and provide them with a "Find" option to locate the information easily.
Banks should complete the action by March 31, and keep their websites updated at regular intervals, the Reserve Bank said in a notification.
Keeping in view public interest, it has been decided that banks should play a more pro-active role in finding the whereabouts of the account holders of unclaimed deposits/ inoperative accounts, the Reserve Bank said.
"Banks are, therefore, advised that they should display the list of unclaimed deposits/inoperative accounts which are inactive/inoperative for ten years or more on their respective websites," it added.
As per government estimates, banks had Rs 5,124 crore in unclaimed deposits lying with them as of December 31, 2013.
"The total amount of unclaimed deposits (more than 10 years old) lying with all scheduled commercial banks...as at the end of December 31, 2013 is Rs 51,24,98,11,927," Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman had said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha last July.
RBI has further asked banks to provide a "Find" option to enable the public to search the list of accounts by name of the account holder. Cautioning banks not to provide the account number of the holders, it said that they should give information about process of claiming the unclaimed deposits or activating the inoperative account.
As per earlier RBI directives, banks need to carry out special efforts to trace customers in respect of inoperative accounts. Banks are required to pay back the amounts laying in inoperative accounts for ten years or more, along with interest.
They later can lodge a claim for refund from the Depositor Education and Awareness Fund for an equivalent amount paid to the customer/depositor.