Don’t Sleep On Your Accounts: Avoiding Dormant Accounts
You don’t want to forget about your accounts so long that it becomes dormant. The exact length of time you have to leave an account alone before it is considered dormant is 3 years.
While the definition of a dormant account can vary, their treatment is similar. Dormant accounts require SCCU to keep records of the account and send statements and other paperwork. Often, those statements are returned due to incorrect addresses and they then require additional manual effort on the institution’s part. While these costs may seem small, they add up when involving hundreds or thousands of accounts.
Scenic Community Credit Union is required to close these accounts and transfer the funds to the state treasury department through a process known as escheatment. State treasury departments hold those funds, along with unclaimed tax refunds, payroll checks and other “orphaned” assets in an unclaimed property fund. Most states hold hundreds of millions of dollars in these funds. While we hope you continue to utilize Scenic Community Credit Union and our services, we want you to be aware of how an account can potentially become dormant.
This money isn’t lost, but it is difficult to access. To reclaim those funds, you’ll be required to complete a variety of forms and wait several weeks while your request is processed. It’s far more complicated than stopping by your credit union or ATM!
Avoiding dormancy can be a tricky challenge, especially if the savings is a rainy day fund or another infrequently used account. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your account out of dormancy.
1. Keep track of your accounts
It should go without saying that you want to know where all your money is at any given time. Fortunately, that’s never been easier. Using your SCCU Mobile App, you can monitor all of your accounts in one place. You can track your savings account, checking accounts, and your credit card in one screen for convenience. That way, you’ll never forget about an account and risk dormancy.
If you prefer a less digital approach, you can keep your account statements in a file folder. Any lined sheet of paper can work as a ledger. The objective is to create a place where you can see all of your accounts and their balances. Be sure to include other members of the household in this discussion.
If you’ve got a teen with a savings account, make sure they record it as well. Ensure those statements are kept somewhere you know about. Many accounts go dormant because they’re forgotten about. It’s easy to see how a summer savings project or a well-intentioned New Year’s resolution can be abandoned.
2. Automate your savings
An account can’t go dormant if it’s getting transactions on a regular basis. If you’re putting even a small amount, like $5, into an account every month, it’ll never go dormant. You’ll always have access to it, and the rate of growth might surprise you. But who can remember to do that every single month, or would even want to have the burden?
The easiest way to to make it happen is to set up automatic transfers between your primary account and your savings. These don’t have to be large. You could start as small as a few dollars. This form of automatic savings will keep your account active and your savings full. That’s a win-win situation!
3. Clean up and roll over old accounts
If you’re the kind of person who creates different accounts for different savings goals, you might accumulate a dozen different accounts over time. It’s easy to forget to close your vacation savings account after you’ve paid for your vacation, or to clean out the last few dollars in your down payment savings account after you’ve purchased a new car.
This is especially true if you’re not sure what your new savings goals might be. Letting those dollars sit might be the natural thing to do for a while. You might end up with a hundred dollars or more scattered through multiple accounts. Each of those accounts is at risk of going dormant!
One way to handle this problem is to make a general purpose savings account and consolidate your funds there once every few months or so. You can make it part of your rainy day money or use it to help pay down your personal debt. Putting that money to any purpose is better than letting it sit in a dormant account and risk being lost to escheatment or service fees.
Whether it’s old or new, it’s still your money. Having money in an old account can be like finding a few dollars in an old jacket, or it can be like finding out you washed a pair of pants with money in the pocket. The difference is how quickly you act. Claim your money before it’s too late. Clean up your dormant accounts today!
4. Contact us
If your account has not had activity for a substantial amount of time or you receive a communication from the credit union by phone, email, or postal mail that your account is slated for the required Dormant Account funds submission process, you must contact the credit union to tell us what to do with your account- keep the account open or close the account.
We sincerely want to retain you as a lifelong member of the credit union. By contacting us, we can update your account and it will no longer be considered dormant. If you wish, you may also deposit funds into your account to bring it back to active status and avoid the Dormant Account closure process.
Here are options for how you can keep your account open and stop dormant process:
- Contact us by phone at (423)875-6955 and request that your account not be closed.
- Contact us by online form with a written request that your account not be closed.
- Contact us by fax at (423) 875-2188 to request that your account not be closed.
- Contact us at your closest branch to request that your account not be closed.
- Make a deposit -- in person, by mail or via our free Mobile Banking App with your smartphone.
If you call the credit union, we will ask you to verify your identity to ensure that we are dealing with the member/owner of the account. If you write, please provide a phone number we can contact you at and sign your letter so we can compare your signature with our records. These security tips are necessary to protect your money, your privacy, and your confidential personal information. Any Powerco Federal Credit Union representative can assist you when you call, write or visit to update your account status.
If Your Account Has Been Closed for Dormancy
If your credit union account has been closed due to no activity or no member/account owner contact for the previous three years, we have submitted your remaining balance to the State of Tennessee. You can request these funds be returned to you through the State of Tennessee's Unclaimed Property website.
- Visit the State of Tennessee's Unclaimed Property website.
- Perform a search using the information and links provided under the section "Unclaimed Property."
- If the account funds are being requested by the heir/estate of a deceased account owner, reference the information provided under "Prove Your Ownership." An authorized representative of the owner/estate will need to call the customer service number, (866) 370-9429, for assistance and instructions on how to file the claim.
If you have questions or need assistance in filing a claim to have your funds returned to you by the State of Tennessee, you should contact the unclaimed property division directly.
For additional questions about unclaimed property, please call or write as follows:
Telephone Number: (866) 370-9429
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 190693
Nashville, TN 37219-0693