By Marcus Leach

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has given the go-ahead to a scheme that will create a central reclaim fund to collect money from dormant bank accounts.

All money held in the fund will be transferred to the Big Society Bank, which will support good causes. Due to be run by Co-operative Financial Services, the fund will accumulate cash held in accounts at banks and building societies in the UK that have not been accessed for several years.

Money collected outside of England in the UK will transfer to the Big Lottery Fund.

"We have been delighted to step forward and offer our support to the government and the industry in establishing Reclaim Fund," Neville Richardson, chief executive of Co-operative Financial Services, said.

"We do recognise the need for the fund and the benefits that it offers both the industry and wider community."

It is estimated that the fund will receive around £400 million from current dormant accounts, although customers will still be able to reclaim money from accounts they have forgotten about. Part of the money in the fund will be held in reserve for such instances.

Earlier this month, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude urged the devolved nations to contribute to the Big Society Bank.

"The money coming into the Big Society Bank in due course from dormant bank accounts will be for England only, unless the devolved administrations decide to put their share of that money into the Big Society Bank, which I hope they will be encouraged to do," he said.