Couples savings account claimed by ASIC.

A Queensland pensioner has emerged from heart surgery to find his savings account funds had been handed over to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), reports the News Limited Network.

Many Australians are still not aware of the new legislation that passed through parliament earlier this year adjusting the period for a bank account to be labelled inactive, from 7 years down to just 3 years. As of the end of this month, any savings account or term deposit funds that have been untouched by the owner for more than 3 years should be in the hands of ASIC. The Federal Government claims the new rule is intended to help make it easy for Australians to be reunited with funds from lost accounts, however the circumstance of Adrian Duffy shows this may not be the case.

The pensioner recently came out from a quintuple heart bypass to find that his $22,616 account balance was now $0, with a note stating "Closing WDL Govt unclaimed monies." Mr Duffy and his wife had been saving for 14 years as a fallback for health related issues, that the couple had now intended to use to pay for the recent operation.

Mr Duffy claims to have received no warning that his money was to be claimed and is calling the situation an act of theft.

Suncorp Bank have refunded the couple the full amount, out of the banks own funds but according to a Suncorp spokeswoman the payment had been made as once off solution and the bank will be helping the couple to retrieve the original money from ASIC.

The Government has been accused by the Australian Bankers Association of rushing the legislation through parliament to meet its own financial needs and leaving bank customers with months of delays in trying to reclaim their own money.

Australians have been encouraged to make even a minimum withdrawal or deposit into any savings account they have not accessed for the last 3 years and while many believe they have until 31 May to do so, this date is in fact when the banks must have their lodgements finalised by.

Do you have savings at risk from the new rule? What's your thoughts on the legislation? Tell us here.