President issues executive order based on Kennedy’s effort to reunite Americans with $26 billion in unclaimed savings bonds
Dec 21 2020
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has issued an executive order based on Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) legislation requiring the Treasury Secretary to provide states with information to help their residents claim approximately $26 billion in unredeemed savings bonds.
“Government is always delighted to collect taxes, but it’s not often that Big Brother goes out of its way to reunite people with their hard-earned money. I’m thankful that the president’s executive order does just that by making the government pay up on matured savings bonds, even if the original investors have passed away.
“People in Louisiana and all over the country are pinching pennies to make it through this pandemic. It’s common sense and basic decency that the Treasury would help men and women find unclaimed savings bonds that rightfully belong to them and their families, and they can thank President Trump for this massive step forward. I look forward to seeing the Treasury right this wrong—right away,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Treasury. His bill to equip states with information needed to identify who owns unclaimed bonds passed the Senate unanimously in July.
The executive order, inspired by Kennedy’s bill, would require the U.S. Treasury to:
- Begin, before year’s end, a pilot program with multiple vendors to continue digitizing the records of unredeemed savings bonds.
- Make the digitized information on unredeemed bonds publicly available while keeping that information secure.
- Conduct consumer research to determine why individuals often do not redeem their savings bonds upon maturity.
- Collaborate with state counterparts to identify owners of unredeemed savings bonds.
- Issue a public report on all the above initiatives within six months of the president’s signing the executive order.
Louisiana estimates that approximately $337 million in unredeemed savings bonds belong to its residents. Other states estimate that their residents have more than $1 billion in matured, unclaimed savings bonds. These bonds are currently sitting in the Treasury, but the department has previously taken little initiative to return the proceeds to their owners.
Last December, Kennedy secured $25 million for the Treasury Department to digitize and distribute records of unclaimed U.S. savings bonds. The funding is helping the Treasury reunite unclaimed savings bonds with their rightful owners.
At Kennedy’s urging, the Treasury also launched Treasury Hunt, an online search tool that allows bond owners to find information such as whether bonds are no longer earning interest or are owned by deceased family members. More than $23 million has been returned to bond owners through Treasury Hunt.
Government savings bonds were originally sold as part of an effort to finance America’s victory in WWI, and returning those bonds to their owners honors the patriotism of the Americans who invested in their nation as a global leader for freedom.