Category Archives: Bank of Canada

Canada – 34 Million people but Billions in Unclaimed Funds ?

$320M  Now…$500M* in the Bank of Canada (5 year change)

$125M Now    $259M*   in Matured CSBs (5 year change)

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+ 20-30% of insurance policies + Pension Funds + Shares + Bonds +

Safety Deposit Boxes + Security Deposits + Credit Union Accounts + Stocks + Dividends + Corporate Bonds + Pension Accounts + Trust Accounts + Prepaid Funeral Deposits + etc. etc.

Estimated Total:

 $4B-$6B (Canada) ?

No one knows for sure

That’s part of the problem

Mark Carney and Dead Money

Open letter to Mark Carney dated June 11 2013

Dear Mr. Carney:

There’s been a fair bit of ongoing analysis and controversy surrounding the remarks you made some months ago about Corporate Canada sitting on huge piles of “dead money” on their balance sheets that could be better utilized to feed the economy or failing that; returned to investors.

Financial Post Aug 22 2012
The Globe and Mail Aug 22, 2012
Toronto Star Sept 17 2012
Canadian Business Feb 12, 2013
Ottawa Business Journal Dec 3 2012
CBC News August 23 2012


Estimates vary but it seems that the total balance of ‘dead money’ has increased as much as 40% since 2009; and may total as much as $526 Billion… and that has you concerned.

That is indeed a lot of cash.  No question there.

But, as you head out on your new adventure and leave the Bank of Canada,  I think it’s only fair to point out that corporations are not alone in holding onto ‘dead money’ that could be better utilized to grow the economy.

I am a bit embarrassed to point out that our own highly respected Bank of Canada which you have so masterfully governed for the past 5 years, is itself currently sitting on $500Million in unclaimed funds which I think we could agree may also be described as “dead money” and money that could be much better utilized to feed the economy….if not the actual owners.  That might be possible, if only the Bank of Canada took a more proactive approach to finding those owners.

Indeed, the rise in the balance of unclaimed funds in the Bank of Canada certainly appears to rival the rise in ‘dead money’ in Corporations with an increase of 55% over the past 5 years (!) That’s an extraordinary increase on an extraordinary balance of ‘dead money’ given that the this balance of $500M only includes amounts turned over by federally (not provincially) regulated banks, and only after 10 years of inactivity and only where those accounts are held in Canadian dollars (no foreign $ amounts).

Alas, despite this extraordinary increase on an extraordinary balance on a population of only some 34M Canadians, very little awareness and very little effort seems to be being made in trying to locate owners. Granted, the Bank of Canada does update this balance once a year and provides an online database for unclaimed funds; whereas, the same treatment is not afforded to the balance of Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds which are also piling up at the BoC.

It is not a published number but I understand the value of Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds totaled $259M as of this past April which I believe would make that an increase of $147M or 231% or over the past 5 years.

Extraordinary and Sad at the same time.

So, using the same argument you have made for ‘dead money’ in Corporate Canada…for the sake of the economy AND in this case, for the sake of Canadians generally, don’t you think we could put a little more effort into reuniting this money with owners?  

This is after all, the age of technology so one would think we could apply a little technology to finding owners and making things right. But as well,  if some inspiration is needed into this challenge, we can also look south for some good ideas given that the US has had consistent & comprehensive unclaimed property legislation in place for 50+ years. In the US, unlike the situation in Canada, unclaimed property legislation is an  important part of consumer protection legislation. Sadly, that’s not the case in Canada; but it should be. Each state in the US has enacted unclaimed property legislation requiring the transfer of all unclaimed property to  that State who then takes a very proactive role in helping to return assets to owners.

So before you go…perhaps you and Mr. Poloz could give the ‘dead money’ in the Bank of Canada some thought.



Secret life of unclaimed safety deposit boxes

From a story by the New England Cable News Feb 16 2013

Unclaimed Property/Untold Stories

I am sure any day now someone will realize that they could make the story of unclaimed safety deposit boxes a reality TV show but until they do so, I pass along this story by  New England Cable News which shines some light on how the US handles unclaimed safety deposit boxes (for obvious reasons, it fails to shine any light on what happens here in Canada but we will keep trying)

safety deposit boxes

Read the story from NECN here 

In the US, each State takes responsibility for the boxes after 5 years of no activity (most importantly, missed payments) because safety deposit boxes are considered unclaimed property and well, the US has had unclaimed property legislation for about 40+ years.

After reading the story of a typical day of opening abandoned safety deposit boxes in in a typical state like Wisconsin I have a new appreciation of why they REALLY try to return the boxes to the rightful owners.

Hundreds of boxes arrive at this particular office in Wisconsin but each State may vary in the additional amount of time they will hold abandoned items after receiving the boxes from the banks who have already held them for 5 years.. Wisconsin holds boxes for 2 years while Iowa will hold boxes for 10 more years.

“We’ve really tried to push our outreach efforts to let people know about unclaimed funds and getting money back to people,” said Scott Feldt, the deputy state treasurer. “That’s our major effort, that’s why we are here.”

They do so at by way of public events, radio, TV and newspaper interviews. They also publish lists of people owed unclaimed property in various newspapers and in their searchable online database.

More commonly, they hold coins and jewelry, old stamps and personal documents, like wills and marriage certificates. But often times unusual items of no monetary value re found in the boxes and they have no choice but to destroy. This story details some of those finds:

·        One box contained a Band-Aid box and two toenails, wrapped in tissue.·        One box contained an empty envelope.(only)

·        One box contained nothing but spoons.

·        One box contained a Rolex box, but alas, no Rolex.

·        One box contained dental gold, teeth still attached

Some of the items are sold in monthly eBay auctions. The office holds the proceeds for the owner in the event someone later claims them. Perhaps not these particular items but some items that are found to have value are sold in monthly eBay auctions and then the proceeds are held for the owner in the event someone later claims them.

And, while it may depend on the State most Sates will hold onto certain special items ‘in perpetuity’ like photographs and war medals which they know would mean the most…if they eventually find the rightful owners.

All in all, it seems like a fairly civilized and respectful process and transparent… so what is our process here in Canada? It has yet to be told I’m afraid. Or at least, I haven’t found it yet. If you happen to know; please let us know or maybe a new Cdn Reality Show will help us unravel it first….

What happens to uncashed certified cheques or Money orders ?

Originally posted Feb 19 2013

UnCashed certified cheques or UnCashed Money orders maybe waiting for you!

Maybe…you haven’t thought about checking the Bank of Canada unclaimed funds website because you are pretty careful about providing the bank with your forwarding address and you have not left any old bank accounts behind….but there might be another reason to check.

You may have provided a certified cheque or a money order to someone in the past and it was never cashed or provided to the payee…

TD money order

A certified cheque or money order can become “Unclaimed” funds

In the case of both of these kinds of transactions, funds for the certified cheque or money order are deducted from your account right away when the Bank draws them up for you . However, if you never gave the certified cheque or the money order to the payee as you had intended to for any reason or if that payee never actually cashed that payment…it becomes an unclaimed amount related to the account it was withdrawn from.

There are plenty of “Unclaimed” certified cheques or money orders in the Bank of Canada  – enough to make it worth your while to check

Please do and let us know if you come across some of those kinds of transactions or a bank account you or a loved one had forgotten about.  Please keep in mind that the Bank of Canada unclaimed bank balance account includes only accounts in Canadian dollars(we are not sure why) and only federally regulated bank accounts (not provincially regulated credit unions)

Please get in touch if you have any other questions about unclaimed funds we would be happy to try and help.  We don’t have all the answers but we can try …

The link to the Bank of Canada website is  here