Posts Tagged ‘Unclaimed Balances’


Unclaimed bank accounts: Interview on Rob Breakenridge Show

September 19, 2010

When I started at The Journal in July, I was handed a bit of a fluff story assignment: the Bank of Canada’s unclaimed balances.

It’s an old story that gets told from time to time, sort of like the annual counterfeit Taber corn stories. What happens to bank accounts that become inactive?  The short answer is that after 10 years, they’re transferred to the government, which has a website where you can search for your name.

Our job was to take Edmonton specific data and turn it into a searchable database on our website (with big teasers — how much of $7 million is yours), and to see if we could find some of the people who were missing money.

What were their stories?

In truth, they ended up being far more interesting stories than I thought.

Data journalist Lucas Timmons worked on the database and I handled the interviewing and writing of most of the stories. We worked on it alongside whatever else was going on, gradually setting up interviews and collecting little tidbits to put into a story. It ended up being a three part piece that ran the weekend of September 11-13:

Part 1: Found money just web search away

Part 2: Matching charities ‘a way of giving’

Part 3: Unused fund reveals tragedy

We also got quite the response. Dozens of phone calls and emails poured in, and I began working on a follow-up story. And then two. And now, three. Some of these other stories are even better than the original… There should be an extensive piece either later this week or next weekend.

In the midst of it all, I was asked onto the Rob Breakenridge show on QR77 and 630 CHED. Here’s me trying not to sound nervous.