Bank accounts in France I am trying to recover


I am Steve and lived, worked and was resident in Grenoble France back in the 1990's for five years.

Good times!

Unfortunately I left some money in a bank account with Society Generale in Grenoble.I did write to them a few times, but didn't get much joy. As soon as I ceased to be resident and have a French

address they ceased to be helpful. I just did nothing about it. But now I am wondering

if those accounts will still exist, or will have timed out, and if I can recover the money from them?

I am considering hiring a notaire of french accountant to act for me? Maybe its over kill.

But as I say writing to them didn't seem to work. Also my French isn't great these days.

Anyone any experience?

I guess top tip for anyone leaving the country is to empty all your accounts before leaving the country

while your still resident.Or at least convert the accounts to non-resident accounts

Thanks for any help


p.s. Great network btw - wish this had existed when I had been there

I am n

Thanks Shirley. I have noticed that and that there is one in Paris for international customers too. I will give them a go and see if they can help


There is one I London, neR Tower Bridge - my son works there or did when I last saw him, but for their bond dept., or what ever it’s called and as we have been estranged for the last 3 yrs I can’t help out. But a search on the Internet might find a London number Stephen H can phone!

Dear All,

Thanks for all these very helpful suggestions. I have now contacted an office in the French Alps that gives help with legal matters, both in an informal way (it is called a family service) and a formal way notary type services. I emailed them scans of all my bank statements, and they promised to look into it for me. Thereinitial assessment was that the family services office could intervene for me.By writing to the bank on my behalf or even visiting.

Marie-Claire; The cash cards were invalidated when I ceased to be resident and the bank didn't respond to my letters properly once I had a UK address. Of course it is my own fault for not sorting things out sooner in one way or another. If I lose this money through some timeout its my own fault. But i thought I'd raise the issue in this forum as it maybe a problem others face.

I have had a look at the international office you mentioned and one way forward might be to open a non-resident account in Paris and move the money there.

Alex; Your information on the new law is interesting. It was these discussions in the press that made me go back and check the old paper work, and decide to try and sort it out.Once you have left the country and moved on it is very easy to put these things off. I have a similar situation with pension points in France
which is next on my list. I sent all your information and link to my agent in France for his opion as to how it applied to my case, so thanks for that.

Peter; I think there is always merit in starting at the top of an organization. I actually had a very similar

situation when I was living in France and trying to do basic things with my Nat West Bank account. All of a sudden they became a bit strange. I then wrote a letter to head office in London telling them I was a good

customer and questioned the lack of response for customers who worked briefly in other countries. I did get an immediate and helpful response from the head office and the local branch all of a sudden.I will keep this

in reserve and see how my French man in the Alps does in sorting things out. I spoke to him on the phone and he seemed quite efficient and competent

Kind regards


Hi Stephen

1) Go onto the internet and get the name and address of the President and write to him, in English as he will speak perfectly good English.

2) On the back of the letter give him a translation in French using one of many free translation services available on the internet - try Translate in Google. But be warned the French is sometimes wrong so I always write "I am English excuse my French but I am sure you will understand me."

3) You must send details of your bank account, copy of your last statement which will should include your address.

Obviously you have to explain the background but make sure you state you have written previously and had no reply.

Your experience with French companies is not unique, nor indeed with English companies to be fair, but a letter to the President has always worked for me.

Good luck


If you are still OK with your French, try this link for the basic law as it currently stands.

A new law was introduced in 2014 to define the notion of inactive accounts, loi n° 2014-617 du 13 juin 2014, which comes into force on Jan 1st, 2016. This sets a period of 12 months of inactivity other than usual bank charges for running the acount or applying interest, for an account to be declared inactive, which can be extended up to 5 years for certain accounts (shares, certain savings accounts, etc).

The bank can close any account if it deems it insufficiently profitable for it to manage, but must inform the client of the imminence of such a closure. I guess if you had left the country with no forwarding address, then you didn't receive any such letters from your bank ? Under the new law, it might be possible for you to claim back from the bank, bu it will depend on what their policy was previous to the new law. Under the new law, even if the bank closes the account and pays corresponding sums into the Caisse des Dépôts (state reserve), you will still have 20 years to recover the money, failing which it reverts to the state.

I can not imagine that the banks are particularly happy with the new law, after all, previously, that money went straight into the banks own coffers...

Your best bet would be to get a notary or a sollicitor to attempt recovery of any monies to which you might still be entitled, but I would surprised if anything rapid happens. Perhaps the SG had a more enlightened, customer friendly approach to such things.

Is there not an "overseas" office of SG where you now live? I was surprised to see them in Albania recently.

Didn't you have your mail forwarded to your new UK address? I'm surprised you didn't receive statements from your bank… Surely you have an account number and back in the 90's cash cards were issued, I'm surprised they stopped sending you these. Anyhow, hiring legal help will cost you a lot, it's probably better to call, I believe you can get hold of an English-speaking adviser if you look here

Good luck!

you need to write and send everything recorded for anyone to take any notice of anything