Compliance Question of the Week: What Do We Do if We Repossess a Vehicle That Has Items in It?

We repossessed a vehicle and in it we found an envelope of money. We have notified the debtor in the legally required manner, but the debtor has claimed neither the money nor the car. Can we use the found money for offset or deposit the money into the member’s account?

No. The credit union does not have a security interest in the money so offset would not be a good idea. Further, the credit union doesn’t know that the money belongs to the member so it should not be put in their account.

One option would be to keep the money in a separate account at the credit union. If the debtor does not claim the money within the required time, the credit union would probably be safe in taking it. 

The policy on lost and found property in Washington states that the owner has 60 days after the find was appropriately reported to establish their right to possession. Failure to comply with the lost and found procedure is forfeiture to the right of the property. The finder is made liable for the full value of the property to the owner. So, if the credit union fails to properly notify the debtor or appropriate officer or takes the money before 60 days have passed, it would be liable for the full value of the property to the owner. 

In Oregon, the owner has 3 months after the find was appropriately reported to establish their right to possession.

Related Links:

RCW 63.21.020
RCW 63.21.040
ORS 98.005
ORS 98.025

 

Questions? Contact the Compliance Hotline: 1.800.546.4465, compliance@nwcua.org.

Posted in Compliance.