Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dormant Cash Sleeps Soundly in Canada Bank of Canada Watches over Unclaimed $$

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dormant Cash Sleeps Soundly in Canada Bank of Canada Watches over Unclaimed $$

Article excerpt

BIRDIE LEVICK, are you out there?

If you are, there's $66,000 {Canadian; US $51,051} waiting for you at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa. Levick, of Webster, New York, is the American with the largest unclaimed bank balance in Canada.

There are 1.3 million dormant bank accounts on record at the central bank's headquarters, all waiting to be claimed by their owners. Many of them are from outside the country.

There's a Dutchman who left $75,464 in a bank account. And a British couple - Walter and Evelyn Teague of London - left behind $52,537 at a branch in Windsor, Ontario.

Those are three of the big losers in the Bank of Canada dormant funds sweepstakes, $117 million in abandoned bank accounts waiting to be claimed by the owners or their heirs.

The central bank holds dormant accounts of under $100 for 10 years. But it hangs on to those with more than $100 forever, paying interest at 1.5 percent.

"The biggest claim last year was for $158,000, paid to a George Kirkham of Toronto," says Fernand Payer, a payment officer at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa. That left the largest unclaimed account belonging to Berend Koers, with an address in the Netherlands. He left his $75,464 in Bank of Montreal account in St. Thomas, Ontario, an area populated by Dutch immigrants who have made it big in dairy and chicken farming. But there are few people outside Canada who come forward to claim their wealth.

"We paid 90 accounts to residents outside Canada so far this year," says Mr. Payer. "There were only three over $1,000 and the largest was $1,715 paid to someone in Venezuela."

The average was just $143.

There are a couple dozen accounts worth more than $30,000 waiting to be claimed. Some have been there since the bank started holding the accounts in 1944. And it is not just individuals; companies, charities, and other organizations have forgotten funds. …

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