Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do the names on the list represent?
Banks have matched their records of accounts from the wartime period which are still unclaimed with Government records of assets frozen during the WWII period. PricewaterhouseCoopers have undertaken the matching work, and their report explaining how this was done is at documents and reports.
Do all these names relate to holocaust victims?
No, it is likely that a tiny fraction of the names relate to holocaust victims. The majority of the rest will relate to accounts which were frozen during the war period and have never been claimed since.
How can we be sure that banks have put all their relevant accounts into this exercise?
An independent panel, chaired by Lord (Tony) Newton has examined this whole process including statements from the banks about the data they included. As well as Lord Newton the panel comprises:
Elizabeth Danbury - Director of International Projects and Research, UCL
Howard Davies - Inspecting Officer, Public Records Office
Terry Gourvish - Director, Business History Unit, LSE
Robin Impey - Head of Secretariat of Enemy Property Claims Assessment Panel at DTI
Stephen Ward - Associate Director, Holocaust Educational Trust
You can read their report by clicking here.
Is there a minimum amount for an account to qualify for this exercise?
No, but in most cases banks have concentrated on identifying accounts of over £10 as the most practicable objective. This decision was endorsed by the independent panel, as page 2 of their report makes clear. Amounts under £10 are unlikely to have been 'flight capital'? assets which concerned citizens of technical enemy countries lodged in this country for safe keeping.
Is it likely that many claimants will be UK citizens?
It is possible but unlikely. The Government froze assets of residents of 'technical enemy countries' so it is likely that most claims will come from these countries. These are countries which were invaded by Nazi Germany and its allies, such as the Baltic States, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Yugoslavia and Singapore.
Are relatives being traced?
The banks are working hard, including with Jewish groups, to ensure that the existence of the list is known as widely as possible. UK print and broadcast media have been contacted and particular emphasis has been placed on contacting the Jewish specialist press. Correspondents representing the foreign media have been contacted extensively through the London Correspondents' Service at the Foreign Office.
Why aren't the full names of individuals published on the list?
The Data Protection Commissioner's office advised that surname and initial only should be published , in order to protect confidentiality.
Are you able to provide a list of accounts held by Residents of a specific Country?
Regrettably no. For data protection and confidentiality reasons the list has been published in an alphabetical order only.
If I find a surname with an initial that matches and I contact Restore UK, will you be able to confirm the first name?
No. As previously stated Restore UK is a central agency with the responsibilty of processing the claims on your behalf.Again for Data Protection and confidentiality reasons we are unable to confirm full name details.
Will banks uprate these accounts in line with inflation?
Yes. Where accounts relate to victims of the holocaust, banks will uprate balances to take account of inflation since the war. This means that the amount the bank pays will be 26.5 times the original sum (1). The banks have chosen uprating which, of the practicable measures available, provides the highest level of repayment to claimants. This will apply whether the claim is on a current, deposit or other form of account.
For accounts which were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act legislation, but do not relate to holocaust victims, banks will be sympathetic in taking account of genuinely special circumstances.
Will the payment, when made by the bank, be tax exempt?
Yes. We are pleased to confirm that the Inland Revenue have advised us that,"Compensation paid by banks on dormant accounts opened by Holocaust victims and frozen during World War II, will in future be entirely excempt from tax".
How will interest be treated?
As above, where accounts relate to victims of the holocaust, banks will uprate balances to take account of inflation since the war. The uprating sum will always be greater than (and will replace) an interest payment. As a guide, interest is likely to amount to approximately 10-12 times the initial sum, whereas the uprating factor gives an amount which is 26.5 times the initial sum.
For other accounts the least claimants can expect is the situation for ordinary dormant accounts - ie interest paid on interest bearing accounts. Banks will be sympathetic in taking account of genuinely special circumstances.
What about other assets: safe deposit boxes, safe custody (of fine art, securities, insurance policies), securities?
This exercise has focussed on bank accounts. Further work is likely, and some banks are likely to include other assets such as safe custody items.
In pre-war times customers could not have a safe custody arrangement without a bank account to which the commission would be debited. Managers knew their customers, who generally had to provide two references. Therefore if there is a match on an account, claimants can also enquire about safe custody.
Does the list relate to company accounts?
A small number (less than 150) of company accounts have been identified. These are published on the website as a separate list.
Which banks does this exercise involve?
Abbey National plc
Bank Leumi (UK) plc
Bank of Scotland
Barclays Bank plc
C. Hoare & Co
Clydesdale Bank PLC
Credit Lyonnais UK
HSBC Bank plc
Baring Brothers Ltd
Lazard Brothers & Co. Limited
Lloyds TSB Group plc
Morgan Grenfell (Deutsche Bank Group)
Moscow Narodny Bank Ltd.
NM Rothschild & Sons Limited
National Westminster Bank Plc
Standard Chartered Bank
The Royal Bank of Scotland plc
What about other banks who are not in this list of banks?
There is a second tier of banks (and two building societies) who believe that they do not have relevant accounts, but to err on the side of caution are receiving regular circulars from Restore UK (the claims agency, see below). Where Restore UK receives a claim which could be within the scheme dates, but where the name does not appear on the matched database, these claim details will be sent in regular spreadsheets to the 'second tier' institutions, as well as to the banks in the Restore UK scheme. This means the second tier banks can check these names against their own unclaimed accounts. These 'second tier' banks are:
- Alliance & Leicester plc
- ANZ Grindlays Bank Ltd
- Bank of Montreal
- Bristol and West plc
- Charterhouse Management Services Ltd (formerly Charterhouse Bank Ltd)
- Chase Manhattan Bank
- Leopold Joseph and Sons Limited
- Northern Bank Limited
- Northern Rock plc
- West Bromwich Building Society
- Woolwich plc
- Yorkshire Bank plc
In undertaking this exercise the BBA has contacted all its members to check whether they have unclaimed accounts from this period and to tell them about the main scheme and second tier process. There are a small number of banks which are still examining their records and may add data at a later stage, but we believe that the participating banks held all but a tiny percentage of the banking market at that time.
The BBA has also informed the Building Societies Association (BSA) of the details of the Restore UK scheme. It is unlikely that building societies were the target of 'flight capital' but some who cannot tell from their records whether there are any unclaimed accounts which relate to holocaust victims have decided to participate. Two building societies (Nationwide and West Bromwich Building Society) have so far joined the second tier.
What is Restore UK? What is its relationship with banks?
Restore UK is a central clearing agency set up by banks to ensure that claimants get a speedy and sensitive response. It will act as a central information point where more than one bank is involved in a claim. It will not play a part in assessing the validity of claims.
What should someone do if they think they have a claim?
Complete a claim form or phone + 44 (020) 7216 8909 for a paper copy and return (electronically or in paper format; if electronically you need to send a signed copy by post(3)) to Restore UK.
Will Restore UK give claimants help in filling in claim forms?
If you need any help, phone them on the below number or write to them at:
105-108 Old Broad Street
London EC2N 1EX
What happens once the claim form is received?
Restore UK will check the details against the full database of matches which they hold. They will then send the claim to any bank listed as having a match to the name on the claim form. The claimant will receive a letter explaining what is happening and Restore UK will chase the individual banks for responses. Restore UK may write to the claimant asking for more information. Once one or more banks has indicated to Restore UK that they think a claim is valid, Restore UK will give details of a named person at the bank to the claimant and this person will get in touch with the claimant direct.
Who will decide whether claims are valid?
As with ordinary dormant accounts this will be for the banks to determine. In doing so, banks are likely to use similar criteria to the DTI's panel, which is charged with:
bearing in mind 'the difficulties of proving a claim after the destruction of the Second World War and the Holocaust and the period that has elapsed since property was confiscated'(4) taking account, when deciding where the balance of probability lies in relation to each claim of whether 'the claimant has provided...all documents and other information relevant to the claim that the claimant can reasonably be expected to produce in view of the particular circumstances' 'there is any evidence that fraud or forgery affect the claim or evidence submitted, or that other persons may have an identical or better claim in respect of the property in question'.
How quickly will claims be decided upon?
The banks will respond as soon as possible, and definitely within three months.
Is there a complaints procedure if claimants are not happy with how their claim is handled?
The Financial Ombudsman Service will handle complaints, just as it does for ordinary dormant accounts where the bank and the customer have reached deadlock.
Is there a link with the Unclaimed Assets Register?
No, that requires claimants to pay a fee to the Register. In this case there is no fee to the 'middleman' (Restore UK).
(1) This is calculated on a purchasing power of the pound basis. The actual figure is 26.464318. The start date for the calculation is January 1 1940, the first date after the commencement of hostilities in September 3 1939 for which a figure is available. The end date for the calculation is January 1 2000. The uprating factor will be revised annually.
(3)Processing of the claim will only begin when the signed copy is received.
(4) DTI's Enemy Property Claims Assessment Panel terms of reference, page 6.