|Help inform customers about changes in paper U.S. savings bonds|
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced in July it will end over-the counter (OTC) sales of paper savings bonds on Dec. 31, 2011. While paper bonds will no longer be sold at financial institutions, electronic savings bonds remain available for purchase through TreasuryDirect, a secure web-based system operated by the Bureau of the Public Debt.
The Treasury Department is offering a free toolkit to help financial institutions easily communicate this change to customers. The toolkit contains:
• Fliers for customers
• Short messages for account statements
• Frequently asked questions (FAQ) for employees
• Web banners
• An article for employee newsletters or Intranet
All materials can be downloaded at www.treasurydirect.gov.
Savings bonds buyers view financial institutions as trusted sources of information about savings bonds. The toolkit will help banks prepare tellers and staff to provide helpful customer service about this change. Treasury says financial institutions can best help customers by:
1. Educating them about the upcoming changes. Let customers know they will no longer be able to buy paper savings bonds at your financial institution or by mail order. Bankers are also encouraged to direct customers to www.treasurydirect.gov where they can purchase, manage, and redeem electronic savings bonds online. Electronic savings bonds are secure and convenient to manage in a TreasuryDirect account, and customers will no longer have to worry about misplacing, losing or storing paper savings bonds. In addition, with a TreasuryDirect account, customers can purchase electronic savings bonds as gifts and also convert paper savings bonds to electronic ones.
2. Not accepting applications for paper savings bonds after Dec. 31, 2011. Customers have until the close of business on that day to submit their final purchase applications and funds. Final applications mailed directly to the Federal Reserve by customers must be received by Dec. 31, 2011.
3. Continuing to redeem savings bonds. There are currently more than 670 million paper bonds worth $181 billion in the hands of the public. Please continue redeeming these paper bonds on behalf of your customers. Also, please inform them that paper bonds which have not yet matured but are lost, stolen, or destroyed can be reissued in paper or electronic form.
For more information, visit www.treasurydirect.gov.
[This article was posted on October 21, 2011, on the website of ABA Banking Journal, www.ababj.com, and is copyright 2011 by the American Bankers Association.]
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