U.S. savings bonds no longer sold at banks, must go online

The time-honored act of going to the local bank to purchase U.S. savings bonds comes to an end this year, but Americans can still buy the bonds online at www.treasurydirect.gov.

The Bureau of the Public Debt announced that as of Jan. 1, paper savings bonds will no longer be sold at financial institutions. This action, which supports the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s goal to increase the number of electronic transactions with citizens and businesses, will save American taxpayers approximately $70 million over the first five years.

But savings bonds, introduced in 1935, are not going away. Electronic savings bonds in Series EE and I will remain available through purchase in TreasuryDirect, a secure, web-based system operated by Public Debt – where investors have been purchasing savings bonds since 2002.

“Savings bonds are very much a part of this country’s history and culture, and will remain a part of America’s future – but in electronic form,” said Sarah LeDoux of Denison State Bank in Holton. “The federal government is taking a 1935 model and making it a 21st century investment tool.”

Ending over-the-counter sales of paper savings bonds at financial institutions is a continuation of Treasury’s all-electronic initiative announced in 2010. As part of the initiative, Treasury stopped the sale of paper bonds through traditional payroll plans, effective end of 2010. It is estimated that ending the sales of paper payroll and new issues of OTC bonds will save a total of $120 million over the next five years in areas such as printing, mailing, storing bond stock and fees paid to financial institutions for processing bond applications.

“Through TreasuryDirect, investors have an easy and convenient way to purchase and manage their bonds free of charge,” LeDoux said. “Investors will no longer have to worry about misplacing, losing or storing paper savings bonds.”

Opening a TreasuryDirect account is free at treasurydirect.gov, and, once it’s established, investors can:

  •  Buy, manage, and redeem Series EE and I electronic savings bonds.
  •  Convert Series EE and I paper savings bonds to electronic through the SmartExchange feature.
  •  Purchase electronic savings bonds as a gift.
  •  Enroll in a payroll savings plan for purchasing electronic bonds.
  •  Invest in other Treasury securities such as bills, notes, and bonds.

Those currently holding paper savings bonds can continue to redeem them at financial institutions. Bonds, which have not matured, but were lost, stolen or destroyed, can be reissued in paper or electronic form.

LeDoux said investors must open and manage the online account themselves for privacy reasons, as they must choose their own ID and password to the site.

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Posted by on Jan 4 2012. Filed under County News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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