I have an old (> 20 yrs) CD from a bank that was bought by a bank that was bought by US Bank. I went to US Bank to get it cashed, and they have no record of it, me, or my parents (we're all listed on the CD). They tell me to talk to my state's dept of commerce. The state has no record of it either. We go back and forth for awhile, and eventually the (initially friendly) bankers ignore calls, and say there's nothing they can do.

What's the best course of action to get this cashed? IMO the bank should be able to do one of the following:

  1. Prove that the CD was cashed
  2. Prove that the CD was transferred to the state
  3. Cash the CD

Am I wrong to assume this is their responsibility? Are there laws that say how long they need to keep records?

I'm also told we could hire some sort of financial investigator, which I'm okay paying for if it's our mistake (e.g. if it was cashed by my parents and they forgot), and not up front.

What's a good next step here? I'm tired of dealing with these people.

  • 4
    For the last 20+ years what was being done regarding the interest and the 1099 forms? May 12, 2016 at 3:06
  • Not sure about specifics. Generally Banks are required to retain records for 7 years. Unclaimed money are to be transferred to state after account is dormant. There is a generic retention policy at riskinbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/…
    – Dheer
    May 12, 2016 at 3:15
  • 1
    How were you made aware of the CD's existence?
    – quid
    May 12, 2016 at 4:07
  • If the bank cannot prove that the CD is not fraudulent, should they still be required to do one of the three things you listed? If you showed up at the bank with a 20 years old bank statement from a bank two mergers away, should they be required to give you the money that statement says you had in your account?
    – user
    May 12, 2016 at 10:49
  • 2
    The 3 options that you list aren't possible for the bank to do if they have no record of it.
    – TTT
    May 12, 2016 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


A customer must remain in "contact" with a bank periodically to avoid the account being considered abandoned. A customer can reset the "timer" by making a non-automated transaction on the account (think debit card swipe, in-person withdrawal, write a check, things that require the customer to actually do something with the account), or by calling or writing to the bank periodically.

When an account becomes inactive and/or dormant, banks generally send letters to the inactive/dormant account holders asking for a simple reply. The response resets the timer.

If no response is collected and efforts to contact the account holder fail, the account enters a dormant state for a period of years. I believe the exact timing is state-specific...in my state it is seven years. Once the dormant timer completely expires and no contact has been made, the funds are escheated to the state and become abandoned property at the state level.

You need to investigate your issue with your state...research whatever department handles abandoned property and call them. Once the funds are escheated, the bank has no further control of the money and cannot assist you.

EDIT: It is also possible the CD was cashed out without your knowledge. Your parents could have cashed out the CD years ago, perhaps before one of the bank merges. Accounts closed prior to Jan 1 of the previous calendar year are generally not migrated, as there is no tax reporting liability. Are you sure your name was actually on the CD as an owner, and not as a beneficiary? If you were not an owner, the current bank would not give you any information anyway. Just because you have the physical CD card does not mean the account is open.


They used to give a paper certificate done up with large seals and ribbons hanging off it. This document was actually a receipt that such a deposit was made. Much has been made of the asserted fact that money was deposited as evidenced by the elaborate certificate. Banks keep records of 7 years as dictated by state law. Indeed the paper document was evidence the deposit was made ed but the paper document holds no monetary value. Banks cash out accounts and generally do not need the paper document to redeem funds. It's entirely possible the mo eyes was withdrawn after maturity. Always cash out natured CDs you can get bunged if you let accounts go stale.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .