I had a checking account with Bank One, opened 9 years ago in Colorado. In 2004, it seems Chase acquired Bank One. Chase told me they could not find my accounts and there’s nothing they can do about it. I was told that the account might have settled, closed out, or been escheated to the state. Is the bank allowed to do that without notifying me?

abandoned bank account image

Paul Gorbuild / Flickr source

– Y. D.

Most likely, Chase made an attempt to contact you by sending a letter to your last known address or calling your last known phone number. If you changed your address and contact information without updating these details with Chase, you became unreachable.

If your checking account was incurring monthly fees that eventually drained the account’s balance, Chase might have automatically closed it after a certain period of inactivity. In the event that you have a negative balance, your account might even end up with a debt collection agency. (Be sure to check your credit reports to see if this is the case.)

Financial institutions of all sorts will turn over accounts to the state if there is no customer-initiated activity or contact in a specified period of time, which may vary from state to state.

In Colorado, bank accounts are considered abandoned if there is no activity for five years. The Colorado State Treasury becomes the custodian of your checking account and all the funds within the account. The account is now classified as unclaimed property of the state.

Colorado distributes a list of unclaimed-property owners statewide in newspapers and it is provided to public libraries, county treasurer’s offices and state legislators. To see if the funds from your now-closed Chase checking account is held with the state, perform an online search of Colorado’s unclaimed property database. (You can also search the database of unclaimed property records for all states at MissingMoney.com.)

Afterward, you must submit a paper claim, and provide the required supporting documentation, to collect the unclaimed property.

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  • One of the great things about the Internet is how much easier it has made it to find “unclaimed funds”. This helps to offset one of the bad things about banks, how little effort they make to find people.