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Detective work saved Heritage savers millions

Detective work saved Heritage savers millions

(12 June 2013 – Australia) Queensland-based Heritage Bank staff have donned detective hats to help customers keep more than A$5 million in savings from being shipped off to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) at the end of May.

Money that had sat in savings accounts and left untouched for too long was flagged to be returned to the Federal Government, under its new legislation.

Banks are now forced to close accounts and transfer money to the ASIC if savings accounts have sat dormant (no deposits or withdrawals) for just three years, instead of the previous seven.

Heritage Bank had a team of people working to warn customers about the impending transfer into government coffers.

Heritage Chief Executive, John Minz said a total of A$6 million of customers’ money was originally at risk.

"We’ve left no stone unturned in trying to contact customers to warn them about the new legislation. All they needed to do was make a simple transaction so their account was no longer inactive. This would keep their money in their bank accounts, which is much easier to access," Minz said.

"Our team made up to 16 phone calls to track down individual account owners whose contact details held by the bank had become outdated."

"In the process we’ve uncovered some great stories of hidden treasure with some forgotten accounts having balances of up to A$300,000."

Minz said the good news for Heritage customers was that of the original A$6 million that was earmarked for transfer, all but A$800,000 stayed in customers’ accounts. A significant portion of the remaining A$800,000 is money that is tied up in deceased estates.

"We’re really pleased we’ve had so many happy endings," he said. "One lesson to be learnt is the importance of keeping contact details up to date with your financial institution."

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