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Public Debt Launches Treasury Hunt, New Web site Helps Public Find Money And Bonds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 5, 2001

The Bureau of the Public Debt, today, launched Treasury Hunt, a new Web site to help people put their money back to work. Treasury Hunt makes it easy for people to find out if they may have a matured savings bond, a bond that the postal service couldn't deliver or an interest payment that was returned to Public Debt. Customer privacy is protected by encrypted communications and a follow-up process to assure payment or holdings information is disclosed only to the bond owner.

“Treasury Hunt is one more step in our effort to encourage owners of savings bonds that have stopped earning interest to redeem them and put their money back to work,” said Van Zeck, Commissioner of the Public Debt. “The new Web site will also help us in our efforts to get bonds and savings bond interest payments reunited with their rightful owners.”

Treasury Hunt is easy to use. Once investors go to www.savingsbonds.gov and click on the Treasury Hunt link, they are prompted for identifying information such as name, city and state and in some cases Social Security Number. If there is a possible match, the customer is given instructions for following up. The site is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Treasury Hunt database currently contains information about 160,000 undeliverable bonds, undeliverable interest payments, and matured Series E, H, and HH savings bonds. Treasury Hunt will be updated regularly as new information becomes available.

One goal of Treasury Hunt is helping Public Debt find the owners of some 35,000 undeliverable bonds it now has. Savings bonds become undeliverable and are sent to Public Debt only after financial institution issuing agents or the Federal Reserve made several attempts at delivering the bonds to investors. Bonds returned as undeliverable are a tiny fraction of the 45 million bonds sold each year.

Holders of Series H or HH savings bonds, which pay interest currently, can also check the site to see if an interest payment was returned to Public Debt as undeliverable. The most common cause for a payment to be returned is when a customer changes bank accounts or address and doesn't give Public Debt new delivery instructions.

Treasury Hunt also helps in Public Debt's outreach effort to encourage the holders of some 20 million matured savings bonds worth $8 billion to redeem their bonds. Although nearly all of the owners of matured bonds that Public Debt has contacted know where their bonds are, two out of three didn't realize that their bond had stopped earning interest.

Series E bonds sold from May of 1941 through November of 1965 earn interest for 40 years. Bonds sold from December of 1965 on earn interest for 30 years. So, bonds issued in February of 1961 and earlier have stopped earning interest as have bonds issued between December of 1965 and February of 1971.

Public Debt has a number of employees assigned to a special locator group that finds owners of undeliverable payments and bonds. Each year they locate and deliver several millions of dollars in returned interest payments and thousands of previously undeliverable bonds to their owners. Treasury Hunt adds to the effectiveness of this effort by making it easy for the public to check and see if they've got a bond or payment waiting for them.