MONEY: CIBC deactivates dormant accounts

Bonnie and Clyde, remember them? They robbed banks. Today maybe the roles have switched? We are just wondering. 

Are you putting money away into a “rainy day” account? Do you have an account where you put in money from time to time and forget about it? STOP, DON’T, CHECK IT TODAY.

Recently, a senior doing his banking received a real shock. A rainy day account into which he made periodic deposits was designated as dormant and CIBC deactivated it. The account became untouchable and the senior nearly had a heart attack fearing loss of a bundle of money he had set aside for a ‘rainy day.’

CIBC explained that this was normal company procedure used to defend against fraudsters and hackers. They added that clients are informed about this bank procedure in fine print somewhere.

That’s not acceptable.

First, given the deluge of information that swamps users daily in this technological age, it is impossible for people to keep up with the ‘fine print’ which many companies provide. It is wrong to hide behind the defensive facade that ‘we made the information available to our clients.’

The bank should notify the customer if they are going to make changes to any of the client’s accounts. More importantly, they should not be able to make any changes without the client’s specific permission, granted only after bank notification and client response have been completed.

According to CIBC, this practice of deactivating dormant accounts is a regular procedure for accounts which have not had an activity for 10 months or more. That’s a short period of time and many of us have accounts that either are just sleeping away gaining interest or we may have forgotten about them.

On another note, still related to ‘sleeping accounts,’ do you have any accounts that are part of an inheritance, an estate? Accounts where you received money in an account and simply forgot about them? Time for a financial accounts refresher. What about accounts that may have been held by the family member who passed away? Once again, if these accounts lie inactive, they could very well be at risk of being deactivated and absorbed by the bank.

Update your accounts information now!

The senior who got the big dormant account surprise got the policy reversed: his money restored and his account reactivated. Thank goodness.

A followup from the bank itself:

Hi Richard,

Thanks for taking the time to write to us. I apologize the previous reply did not address your original question.

We do not send e-mails containing links to a website as fraudsters generally try to replicate these types of communication into phishing e-mails. Phishing is a type of scheme that uses fraudulent e-mail, web pages and text messages to gather personal, financial and sensitive information for the purpose of identity theft.

Most commonly, users receive spam e-mail (mass e-mail messaging), text messages and pop-up windows that appear to come from legitimate businesses. People have been tricked by these deceptive solicitations into sharing passwords, social insurance, credit card and bank account numbers.

Kind regards,

Sarah
CIBC Internet Communications Specialist

And the bank does send out notices about dormant accounts:

Hi Richard,

Thanks for taking the time to write back to us.

I apologize, but I am unable to click on the link provided in your previous email due to security restrictions.

In regards to dormant accounts, CIBC sends a notice to clients to inform them of dormant accounts. The first notice is sent in year two, the second in year five, and the third in year nine of dormancy. Notices are sent in January, and clients have until the end of April to acknowledge the notice. If the account remains dormant in the 10th year, the balance will be sent to the Bank of Canada to comply with requirements under the Bank Act.

Kind regards,
Sarah
CIBC Internet Communications Specialist

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