WAEMU: Adoption of a draft law on dormant accounts

Jan 07, 2014

The countries of the Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) adopted last week a uniform draft law on the management of dormant accounts in the books of member states' financial institutions.

The countries of the Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) adopted last week a uniform draft law on the management of dormant accounts in the books of member states' financial institutions.

The new law defines the concept of dormant accounts and details the obligations of depository institutions, according to Amadou Ba, Minister of Economy and Finance, quoted by APS news agency.

It offers various methods for managing dormant assets and adopts uniform rules in relation to the limitation of rights and devolution of assets, the Minister said.

The objective is to obtain a better protection of the interests of users and to enhance their confidence in financial institutions, while reducing the risk of litigation between depository institutions and investors. It should also prevent the risk of fraud involving staff of financial institutions and preserve the financial stability of member states.

Bank accounts are considered dormant when they remain inactive for several years and when depository institutions fail to find the owners or their heirs. They can be a potential source of disputes between depository institutions and account holders, with negative effects on the stability and integrity of the banking and financial system.

Investigations by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) in 2006 published by newspaper Le Faso indicate that 774,689 accounts are dormant in the WAEMU region, representing a total of more than CFAF61.5 billion (€93.7 million).ADNFCR-2976-ID-801679286-ADNFCR