WASHINGTON -- President Clinton has signed into law legislation that gives depositors at failed banks and thrifts up to 10 years to claim their funds.

Previously, depositors at federally insured financial institutions were given 18 months.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Donald Riegle, D-Mich., and Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., requires the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Resolution Trust Corp. to mail notices to all insured depositors within 30 days after beginning payouts.

Deposits not claimed after 18 months would be transferred to the state of a depositor's last known address. For people residing outside the United States, the funds would go to the state of the bank or thrift's headquarters.

The state is to retain the deposits for 10 years. If unclaimed, the money reverts to the deposit insurance funds.

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