Feb 02 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today urged Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to help Americans claim more than $26 billion in unredeemed savings bonds, including $337 million that belong to the people of Louisiana.
The Treasury Department is currently holding more than $26 billion in matured, unredeemed U.S. savings bonds, most of which the Treasury deems lost, stolen, destroyed or “unclaimed.” Many of these bonds were issued more than 70 years ago and have matured—meaning they no longer earn interest for bondholders.
“As Louisiana’s State Treasurer for 17 years, I was frustrated and utterly perplexed when I first discovered the Treasury was holding on to billions of dollars from Americans across the country. To make matters worse, many who purchased U.S. savings bonds did so out of a patriotic sense of duty to help the nation weather financial uncertainties such as World War II. For years, Treasury refused to release bond-owner information to the states, most of which have programs in place to reunite Americans with their unclaimed property,” Kennedy wrote.
At Kennedy’s request, Congress provided the Treasury Department with $50 million to prioritize the digitization of bond records. In 2019, the Treasury relaunched Treasury Hunt, an online search tool that allows bond owners to locate bond information. The Treasury, however, has been slow to start the digitization process and is now considering proposals and potential contracts from vendors.
“Once Treasury selects a vendor, I ask that the department work to execute the digitization of these records swiftly and prioritize the distribution of this information to the bonds’ rightful owners. As Treasury Secretary, you are responsible for reuniting taxpayers with their investments. Each day that passes without a solution, Treasury reneges on its contract with the American people,” continued Kennedy.
“It is long past time that Treasury keep its promise to the millions of Americans who purchased U.S. savings bonds. The American people deserve the billions of dollars that rightfully belong to them. To delay any longer is an affront to the law and to common sense,” Kennedy concluded.
Kennedy introduced the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2021 last September. The bill would require the Treasury to provide states information about matured and unclaimed bonds so individual states can use unclaimed property programs to help locate the original owners of these bonds or their heirs. This provision would only apply to unredeemed bonds that matured before 2018.
The letter is available here.