Don't stall over unclaimed assets, urges Charity Bank

The £250m sitting in dormant UK bank accounts should be put to good use immediately, according to community finance organisation Charity Bank.

The bank told the Treasury select committee inquiry into the definition, identification and collection of unclaimed assets that it could take months or years until assets are reunited to their rightful owners, or declared available to be given away. Instead of languishing while the decision is made, the funds could be used immediately for the benefit of society, for example to kick-start the proposed social investment bank, Charity Bank said.

Charity Bank also proposed that a panel of commissioners be drawn up, to determine how the money is distributed and what percentage should be kept aside to meet any claims. The panel could be drawn from across the business, charity, academia and civil service sectors, it said.

The scheme could also be rolled out to all financial institutions, recommended the bank, and eventually to government and public organisations and any other companies that hold unclaimed assets.

Malcolm Hayday, the bank's chief executive, said: "This social investment bank style approach reflects the fact there is an emerging market of local community organisations that are increasingly looking outside of traditional methods of grant-aid or gift-giving and are waking up to the opportunities available to them through the community finance sector."

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