A new draft law calls for bank accounts dormant for more than 10 years to be transferred to Finance Ministry suspended accounts. SAROT MEKSOPHAWANNAKUL

A law on pooling money parked in bank accounts that have been dormant for at least 10 years into suspended Finance Ministry accounts will apply only to baht-denominated savings and current accounts of individuals, says an informed source at the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO).

The draft bill on dormant accounts is expected to go before the cabinet in the next two months, the source said.

Fixed deposits, savings accounts to guarantee debt repayment to financial institutions, savings accounts to guarantee debt repayment of other persons as demanded by the account owners, savings accounts frozen by court order and others specified by the finance minister do not fall under the law, said the source.

The draft bill, expected to come into force later this year, is aimed at managing dormant bank accounts with more than 2,000 baht per account.

Banks are permitted to deduct monthly maintenance fees of 50 baht for accounts that have been dormant for one year and have outstanding deposits of under 2,000 baht until the balance is depleted.

According to the draft bill, individuals’ savings and current accounts without deposits, withdrawals or transfers for a decade or longer are classified as dormant.

Some 264 people attended two public hearings on the draft bill and 29 others expressed their opinions on the issue online.

After some voiced concern that the wording in the draft bill could lead foreigners and Thais to believe local financial institutions do not have enough security, as it had been written that the treasury reserve would be a source of secure savings to prevent harm to account holders, the FPO opted to remove the sentence in question.

Transferring money parked in dormant accounts to the Finance Ministry has been another issue of concern, with the FPO confirming that account owners and their heirs can claim their money anytime.

Suwit Rojanavanich, the FPO director-general, estimates there is 10 billion baht in deposit accounts that has been dormant for 10 years or longer. He said the bill will come as a boon to financial institutions as it lowers costs in maintaining inactive accounts and cuts their burden for deposit contributions.

Commercial banks are taxed at 0.47% of their deposits, of which 0.46% goes to repaying the rescue fund’s debt of more than 1 trillion baht. The remaining 0.01% goes to the Deposit Protection Agency.

The four state-owned banks are subject to a surcharge of 0.18% of their deposits for a fund to develop specialised financial institutions.

After the cabinet’s approval, the Council of State and the National Legislative Assembly will deliberate the draft bill.

Also in line with feedback from the public hearing, the law, if passed, will be enforced 180 days after it is published in the Royal Gazette to allow time for financial institutions to check customer data.

News Reporter

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