Savings Bonds News You Can Use
The U.S. Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service and the Federal Reserve's Treasury Retail Securities Site would like to thank participating financial institutions for their continued support of the U.S. Savings Bond Program. We are working together to identify ways to streamline and modernize the redemption process to make it easier for your staff to provide high quality, efficient and accurate services to your customers. Below are a variety of resources that we've gathered to assist you. We encourage you to bookmark this page and check back often for updated content.
Savings Bonds News
Posted on April 13, 2018
- Savings Bond Wizard® retires on May 1, 2018: Effective May 1, the Savings Bond Wizard will no longer be available. However, there’s good news: the user-friendly Savings Bond Calculator offers more options than simply pricing bonds.
Historically, Treasury has offered three ways to calculate the redemption value of savings bonds:
- Savings Bond Wizard (Off-site)
- Savings Bond Pro® (Off-site)
- Savings Bond Calculator (Off-site)
Savings Bond Pro provides a large semi-annual file of redeemed bonds and redemption values to some financial institutions. Many institutions and individual customers used either the Savings Bond Calculator or the Savings Bond Wizard. The Wizard was friendly for customers but limited in options and, as use has declined, Treasury opted to decommission it and rely on the Calculator’s greater functionality instead.
The calculator returns the value of a bond – or multiple bonds – as of a date the customer requests and based on the series, denomination and issue dates of the bond(s). It offers even more information. Financial institutions and customers can:
- Price multiple bonds
- Create an inventory to maintain, print and/or save
- Return to the calculator to quickly update bond values
The calculator prices Series EE, E and I bonds as well as Savings Notes. Beyond returning bond values, the calculator also shows the:
- Current interest rate
- Next accrual date
- Final maturity date
- Year-to-date interest earned
Specific instructions for converting inventories from the Wizard to the Calculator can be found in the existing Wizard Help pages, and instructions will be added to the Calculator page on May 1, 2018. Any rates for May acquired from the Savings Bond Wizard prior to its removal are accurate through May 31, 2018.
Visit the Savings Bond Calculator (Off-site) page for more information or to begin compiling an inventory.
Posted on March 30, 2018
- Quarterly Savings Bond Paying Agent Community Meeting: The Savings Bond Paying Agent Community recently explored savings bond fraud, courtesy of a Fiscal Service specialist who walked through visual examples of actual fraudulent securities and provided tips for how to recognize them. Community members also shared best practices for bond valuation, determining ownership, future meeting topics and challenges with processing savings bonds.
Interested in becoming a community member and attending future meetings? Your financial institution is eligible to register up to three individuals as points of contact for the community. Sign up (Off-site) today! If you want more information about membership or about the fraudulent securities presentation, send us an email.
The Savings Bond Paying Agent Community began in 2017 as a way to promote communication, engagement and collaboration between financial institutions that serve as paying agents, Fiscal Service and the Federal Reserve Banks. The community meets quarterly so members can collaborate and share best practices, discuss challenges, propose solutions and discuss potential new technologies and improvements.
Posted on January 31, 2018:
- Savings Bond Paying Agent Community: Interested in collaborating with other financial institutions to share best practices, ideas and experiences related to the processing of savings bonds? Join the new Savings Bond Paying Agent Community! We have partnered to establish a new community to promote engagement and communication between Fiscal Service, the Federal Reserve and financial institutions serving as paying agents. Participants from 11 financial institutions participated in the first quarterly meeting on September 13, 2017. The most recent call was held on January 30, 2018. We encourage you to become a member. Your financial institution may register (Off-site) up to three individuals to be points of contact for the community, so sign up today!
Posted on November 30, 2017:
- Sharpening the Focus on Redemptions: To encourage savings bond owners to redeem their bonds, changes are being made to TreasuryDirect.gov (Off-site) and to other Treasury communication materials. Those changes highlight how visiting a local financial institution is the fastest and easiest way to cash savings bonds.
Bond holders sometimes think they must convert their paper bonds to electronic form before cashing them, but that’s not necessary. When customers only want to redeem, converting to electronic form adds an unnecessary step that extends their wait time before they can even request the redemption.
In an effort to help customers get their money faster, Treasury is directing all links dealing with cashing bonds to a new Cashing Savings Bonds (Off-site) landing page on TreasuryDirect.gov. The landing page also provides links for more complex requests and ensures the first thing customers see is that local banks and credit unions are the easiest and smartest choice for most redemption requests.
Consequently, when customers visit you for redemptions, it may create opportunities to expand your relationship with them. For example:
- When your customer redeems a bond for a major purchase, you may be able to help with financing options
- When your customer wants to continue investing the proceeds, you might have different investment options for them
Regarding other changes, you’ll also see a new “STOP!” notice on the TreasuryDirect.gov Account Creation page with similar wording and a link to the landing page. This notice hits an entirely different customer base – those who use search engines and wiki pages to research cashing savings bonds. Since many sites mistakenly tell customers they must first convert bonds before cashing them, the “STOP” notice helps direct them to the correct site before they go to the trouble of setting up an account.
Posted on August 14, 2017:
- A 90-Day Hold Before Processing Lost, Destroyed or Stolen Paid Bonds: We heard you! We have reduced the holding period from 180 days to 90 days for any redeemed savings bond, which was misplaced, destroyed or stolen, while in your financial institution. You can submit a claim much sooner! The holding period was originally set at 180 days, which allowed enough time for payments to post and was appropriate for older, manual processes. Since bonds are processed electronically today, posting of payment periods has been drastically reduced. Thus, Fiscal Service has reduced the holding requirement for processing lost, destroyed or stolen paid bonds to 90 days.
- Eligible Bond Types for Redemption: Did you know that you may redeem Series E, Series EE, Series I or Savings Notes for customers? The Guide to Cashing Savings Bonds (Off-site) is a publication designed just for paying agents to help walk you through the process. You’ll find easy-to-follow Go/Stop steps for cashing those bonds - including tips for determining if the bond is authentic, unaltered, has a valid issue date, has been held by the customer for at least 12 months or if the person is actually entitled to it. It sounds like a lot of "ifs," but the guide simplifies the process!
- Best Redemption Practices - Special Payment Cases: It's important to make sure the person redeeming a bond is entitled to it. Most of the time the person redeeming the bond is the person named on the bond. Your financial institution may, but isn't required to, cash bonds or notes presented by a parent of a minor, a beneficiary, or, in certain circumstances, a legal representative, such as a trustee, guardian, executor or other fiduciary representative. If you decide to not cash these bonds, you can refer the customer to the Treasury Retail Securities Site at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis or forward the transaction to Minneapolis on behalf of the customer. The Guide to Cashing Savings Bonds (Off-site) offers help for navigating these situations and ensuring everything's in order before redeeming a bond. The guide uses easy-to-follow Go/Stop steps so you can be confident of entitlement, as well as many other situations.
Posted on May 12, 2017:
- Conversion is not necessary for redemption: Did you know that paper bonds do NOT need to be converted into electronic form for a customer to redeem them? You can process redemptions and pay the customer just as you have always done. Paper bonds may no longer be available to purchase, but the redemption process has not changed. Conversion is for customers who want to continue owning their bonds, but do not want the hassle of keeping paper savings bonds. Those customers can convert their bonds into electronic savings bonds in TreasuryDirect.
- Virtual Paying Agent Stamp (VPAS) is now available: When a customer redeems a paper savings bond at your financial institution, you have to stamp the face of the bond with various redemption information. Now, instead of physically stamping each bond, you can place an electronic overlay on the image of the redeemed bond. VPAS helps us by providing a more consistent bond image, and it can help you streamline bond redemptions for your employees. A signed agreement is required to test the VPAS at your institution. For more information, please contact Customer Support for Redeemed Savings Bond Clearing at P: (844) 284-2676.
- Retention Requirements: Did you know that Fiscal Service requires paying agents to retain redeemed savings bonds for only 30 days – just one month? Of course, financial institutions may establish a different retention schedule for other reasons, so be sure to check what your institution requires. Now you know!
Frequently Asked Questions
We’re committed to providing the information you need. Answers to many of your most frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be found on the Image-enabled Savings Bond Processing FAQs page.
We’re Here to Help
We appreciate your support of the U.S. Savings Bond Program. Financial institutions with comments or suggestions may use the online submission form (Off-site). Individuals with questions are asked to contact the Treasury Retail Securities Site at P: (844) 284-2676.
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