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Call for German database of bank accounts

Two billion euros are sitting in inactive, forgotten bank accounts across Germany and should be passed to their rightful owners, a German politician has said. 02 Sep 2016

Norbert Walter-Borjans, finance minster for North Rhine-Westphalia, has called for a central database to reunite the assets of deceased bank account holders with their owners, Deutsche Welle has reported.

"Banks can't be allowed to hoard money that they do not deserve," the Social Democrat (SPD) said, according to the news site. These "unclaimed accounts strengthen the capital base of the banks", he said.

The owners of some accounts would theoretically be 120 years old, Deutsche Welle said.

The Association of German Banks told Deutsche Welle that it "sees no reason at present to change anything regarding the tried and tested practice of dormant accounts".

In the UK, under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act of 2008, the money in dormant accounts is passed to a central reclaim fund. The managers of this fund handle reclaims and pass surplus finds to the Big Lottery Fund.