State to prey on inactive bank accounts

According to a bill currently being debated in the Greek Parliament, bank accounts which have remained inactive for 20 years without any balance change or statement request will come into the state’s possession in order to be used for various social purposes, with depositors being notified at five-yearly intervals before the deposits are seized.

The clause aims to modernize the legal framework for inactive bank accounts, which has not been modified since 1942, during the German occupation.

According to Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, bank accounts will still be considered active even if there is no balance change after 20 years if in the mean time there have been any payment orders issued by the holder to the bank or to a third party by any of the holders, or if the holder has asked for a balance statement at a bank branch or via a cash machine, through Internet or phone banking systems etc.

The first notification will reach account holders after five years by registered mail, the second will be after 10 years and the last one after 15, before the balance is turned over to the state after 20 years, the minister explained in Parliament on Wednesday.

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