Banks, India, RBI, Stories

Data: Number of Accounts With ‘Unclaimed Deposits’ in ‘Public Sector Banks’ Crosses 10 Crore


The RBI recently announced ‘100 Days 100 Pays’ campaign with the goal of tracing and settling out the top 100 unclaimed deposits from every bank in every district within a hundred days. This is a much needed step as data indicates a continuous growth in accounts with unclaimed deposits. The number in PSBs alone crossed 10 crores as of February 2023.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently announced ‘100 Days 100 Pays’ campaign with the goal of tracing and settling out the top 100 unclaimed deposits from every bank in every district within a hundred days. The campaign is expected to augment the central bank’s continued efforts in returning the existing unclaimed deposits to their rightful owners/claimants. The banks were expected to commence the campaign on 01 June 2023.

As of now, each bank displays the list of unclaimed deposits on its website. To improve the tracing and settling of unclaimed deposits, RBI has decided to develop a centralized web portal that facilitates search across multiple banks. Further, the search results are said to be enhanced by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools.

In this story, we look at the data and associated trends relating to unclaimed deposits in India. Read our earlier story on unclaimed deposits here and here.

Approximately 10 crore bank accounts have unclaimed deposits. 

By the end of 2011, the total number of accounts having unclaimed deposits stood at 1.1 crores, with the total unclaimed amount being Rs. 2,442 crores. By the end of December 2021, a total of 9.87 crore accounts had unclaimed deposits accounting for Rs. 31,078 Crores. There is an 11-fold increase in the total amount of unclaimed deposits and an 8-fold increase in the number of accounts during this period.

Since 2018, there has been consistent growth in the unclaimed deposits and the associated accounts. Average yearly growth of 29% and 22% can be seen in the number of unclaimed deposits, and in the number of accounts between 2018 and 2021 respectively. 

Public Sector banks account for more than 80% of the unclaimed deposits.

In a written response to the Lok Sabha, the Union Minister of State for Finance stated that as of the end of February 2023, Public Sector Banks had transferred a total of Rs. 35,012 crores worth of unclaimed deposits in respect of deposits that have not been operated for 10 years or more. 

Of the Rs. 31,078 crores as of the end of December 2021, the public sector banks accounted for more than 80% (Rs. 25,798 Crores). While most of the unclaimed deposits are held by the Public Sector Banks, their share has come down marginally in recent years. In 2018, about 88% of such accounts were in PSBs. The share reduced to 84% in December 2020, and 82% in December 2021. 

Between December 2021 and February 2023, the unclaimed deposits with the public sector banks rose by 35% (approximately Rs. 9,213 crores), and the accounts grew by 25% (2 crore accounts). Though the latest data for all scheduled commercial banks is not available, this growth trend might be true even in the case of private banks. 

SBI tops the PSBs in unclaimed deposits, followed by Punjab National Bank

As of 2023, there are twelve public sector banks in India. Among them, SBI has more than Rs. 8,000 Crore of unclaimed deposits in over 2 crore accounts, followed by Punjab National Bank with Rs. 5,340 crores in 1.5 crore accounts. Canara Bank has more unclaimed accounts than Punjab National Bank, however, the amount of unclaimed deposits is more for Punjab National Bank. 

By the end of December 2020, SBI had Rs. 3,578 crores of unclaimed deposits in over 1.32 crore accounts. The unclaimed deposits grew by 2.26 times to Rs. 8,086 crores and the number of accounts rose grew by 1.6 times to 2.17 crore accounts as of February 2023. SBI alone accounted for 30% of the total growth in unclaimed deposits between 2020 and 2023.

Of all the public sector banks, only Indian Bank registered a decline in the number of accounts (by more than 7 lakh accounts) that had unclaimed deposits between December 2020 and February 2023. 

70% of the unclaimed deposits are from ‘Savings Accounts’

If we consider the data of the unclaimed deposits by type of account, approximately 70% of the total unclaimed deposits belong to the ‘savings account’ category as of December 2021. This is followed by the ‘other deposits’ category, and the ‘current account’. 

There has been a consistent growth in the unclaimed deposits over the years irrespective of the type of account. However, the growth rates are not uniform. The data from 2018 to 2021 suggest that the share of ‘savings accounts’ in total unclaimed deposits grew from 66% to 70%, whereas the share of ‘current accounts’ fell from 7.5% to 7% during the same period.  A greater decline can be seen in the share of ‘fixed deposits’, which fell from 9.5% to 7% during the corresponding period. 

The ‘100 days 100 pays’ campaign- Settling the ‘unsettled’, a much needed step

An inoperative account can be exposed to fraud and is an easy target for phishing attacks.  Such accounts are prone to be utilised for shady activities like money laundering, which might get a legitimate consumer into a lot of difficulties. Additionally, because the bank must keep up with the database of inactive accounts, retaining such accounts raises the bank’s overall costs.

Hence, the RBI’s ‘100 days 100 pays’ campaign is a much-needed step in the right direction. With proper implementation and supervision, this campaign has the potential to ensure that the money reaches the owners and that the consistent growth in unclaimed deposits & accounts is reversed. 


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