Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Governments seizing money from inactive banks

So, this is a bit of a trip down memory lane, which is the time the Labor government reduced the inactivity period of a bank account from seven years down to two.

My story comes when I actually knew about the upcoming deadline for inactivity, but the government had obviously already earmarked my money in two different savings accounts and seized it anyway.  What's worse is that neither bank did ANYTHING to warn me of the impending action!

I had gone to the trouble a couple of weeks before the cutoff date and deposited $20 into each account which, in my mind would have been sufficient to prevent it being seized.

I was wrong.  They not only seized the original amounts in the accounts, but also the additional $40 I had just deposited too!

I contacted the banks, who both claimed they'd done their best to contact me in the lead up to the seizure,  They hadn't.  So I then had to fill out a form to get the money returned.

So I did the intelligent thing and pulled all of the money out and left the two respective bank accounts empty.  One of the banks advised me after about 6 months that, since it was empty, they were going to close the account.

The other bank, however, still insists on emailing me statement updates on a bank account with $0 in it.

Like I'd trust either of them again to look after my money after the last time they let the government stroll in a take it when my accounts had clearly been used prior to the inactivity cutoff!

The story behind this is that our last Labor government, strapped for cash, changed the original seven year inactivity policy so it was only two years, which netted them $360 million.  This act may have made that financial year budget look better (or less bad), but it's effectively robbing the next four years of money because they just brought forward the seizures which would have resulted in very few seizures in the years following.  Of course they didn't win the next election (not because of this issue) so they didn't have to deal with the mess they'd made.

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