If you have a savings account with Lloyds TSB but have not been in touch with the bank for the past 15 years, it wants to hear from you. Lloyds is trying to reunite up to 120,000 personal and business customers with an estimated £69m held in accounts with which they have lost touch.
The bank says that around 10 per cent of these "dormant" accounts contain more than £1,000 – some belonging to people who have passed away, some to customers who have either neglected or forgotten about their money. Lloyds is to launch an advertising campaign to alert the public to the existence of the cash and will employ a special tracing service to track old customers down.
"These accounts have been long forgotten and our aim is to reunite as many customers as possible with their cash," said the bank's group finance director, Helen Weir.
Lloyds is the latest bank to take these steps. The Halifax has managed to return £14m to holders of dormant accounts and there is a tracing service available at www.mylostaccount.org.uk, encompassing members of the British Bankers' Association and Building Societies Association as well as the Government's National Savings & Investments.
The banks' and building societies' efforts to return the forgotten millions to their rightful owners come at the same time as the Government is proposing to use dormant cash for good causes. The idea is that money held in accounts where there has been no activity or contact with the customer for the past 15 years should be siphoned off into a central fund and then put to good use. In England the plan is to use the money to fund youth services.
However, should they ever come forward, the original bank or building society customers will always be able to reclaim their money in full.