Halifax has become the first UK bank to sign up with the Unclaimed Assets Register, which is operated by Experian, in a move that follows the appointment of Experian as the bank's search agent for the holders of dormant accounts.
In February 2007, the three savings brands of HBOS – Halifax, Birmingham Midshires and Bank of Scotland – announced that they would be proactively seeking to reunite customers with forgotten money left in savings and bank accounts, ahead of the UK government’s dormant account scheme.
Since the launch of the reunification program, the bank has developed websites for each brand enabling customers to make enquiries about forgotten accounts, launched press advertising and written to customers where it is believed a correct address is held.
Halifax has now taken the additional step of employing a tracing agent to seek out those customers with whom contact has been lost. Experian, the global information solutions company, will search for these customers on behalf of Halifax. Halifax will then notify the customers that they may have funds in an account that they had lost or forgotten about. By appointing Experian, it is anticipated that the success rate for locating these missing customers will be significantly increased.
In addition to these activities, Halifax will also register details of these dormant accounts on the Unclaimed Assets Register (UAR). By registering with the UAR, a new avenue has been opened up, enabling those people accessing the register to identify Halifax accounts they hold but have lost track of.
HBOS has approximately GBP50 million in dormant accounts, relating to around 110,000 customers. Of this total, around GBP44 million is held in Halifax accounts.