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Information regarding dormant accounts

On the 13th January 2016 a new law n° 2014-617 came into effect regarding inactive bank accounts and life insurance contracts that are unclaimed. This law has been applied from the 1st January 2016.

The objective of this law is to invite banks to detect the inactivity of accounts (or safety deposit boxes) that they hold, to investigate the reason for the inactivity, which could be due to the death of the account holder or due to an oversight on the account holder’s part, and to inform the relevant parties of the potential consequences of this inactivity.

An account is considered inactive when:

  • No operations have been recorded during a period of 12 consecutive months (5 years for a share or savings account);
  • The account holder (legal representative or designated individual) has not made themselves known to the bank nor carried out any operation on any other account open with the same bank, over the same period.

When the account holder has passed away the inactive account period begins from the date of death.

At each step of the process (detection of the account inactivity, the transfer of funds to the CDC, Caisse des Depots et Consignations) the account holders, representatives, beneficiaries and mandatories of these accounts will be informed from the outset.

The Products Affected

The law applies to accounts held by individuals, companies, associations, committees and other legal persons.
In addition it targets:

  • Inactive bank accounts
    • Deposit accounts and currents accounts.
    • Regulated and non-regulated savings accounts.
    • Share accounts (including co-operative investment certificates) and social shares (parts social).
  • Inactive safety deposit boxes

Transferring funds to the CDC

In the absence of a customer not making themselves known or no operations being made on the account, the bank will transfer the balance of the inactive account to the CDC:
  • after completion of a delay of 3 years following the death of the account holder;
  • after completion of a delay of 10 years following the start of the inactive period if the customer is alive; for PEL accounts (Plans d’epargne logement) after completion of a delay of 20 years following the start of the PEL becoming inactive, if the account holder holds no other account in the same bank.

The funds that are not reclaimed by their holders or beneficiaries will be acquired by the state:

  • after completion of a delay of 27 years from when deposited at the CDC in the case of individuals that have passed away;
  • after completion of a delay of 20 years from the date of the deposit if the holder is alive;
  • after completion of a delay of 10 years from the date of the deposit if the account in question was a PEL and the holder alive at the time holds no other account in the same bank.