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ABA welcomes changes to Unclaimed Money Bill

ABA welcomes changes to Unclaimed Money Bill

(29 November 2012 – Australia) The Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to make significant changes to its unclaimed money legislation this week, but also re-iterated its concerns that the legislation was unnecessarily rushed. ABA chief executive, Steven Münchenberg said the Government has consistently argued the Bill is for the benefit of customers and the ABA supports any reasonable measures to reunited customers with money they may hold in bank accounts. He said the policy argument does not explain why the Bill was pushed through with such haste.

The Government announced that improvements to the legislation will be made through regulation to address some of the concerns raised by the banking industry.

These include confirming that term deposits, linked and offset accounts, children’s accounts, and accounts for other specified purposes, are to be excluded.

"These vital clarifications and changes are intended to protect bank customers who want to operate accounts on a ‘set-and-forget’ basis and maximise their savings.

"These customers do not want this choice taken away or discover that their money has been removed by the Government. We appreciate that the Government has recognised these concerns," Münchenberg said.

"We also welcome the extension of time for implementation, but note that banks will still need to run a dedicated process on behalf of the Government, rather than just run the normal annual process. This can be costly and disruptive and is particularly harsh for smaller banks."

He said the ABA welcomed the move by the Coalition to amend the legislation to allow proper consideration of its impacts.
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