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Bureau of the Public Debt Announces First Sale of Savings Bonds Through On-Line Home Banking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 10, 1997

Today the Community Credit Union in Plano, Texas becomes the first financial institution to offer the sale of savings bonds through their on-line home banking service. The 8,000 on-line banking customers of Community Credit Union can now buy Series EE savings bonds using their home computers. The entire transaction is electronic and the customer receives the bond by mail within a week.

The Bureau of the Public Debt worked with Community Credit Union and their home banking software provider, Digital Insight Corporation, to develop this first savings bonds purchasing component for an on-line banking program.

“We see home banking as the next step to improving customer service and keeping savings bonds a safe, convenient way to save,” said John D. Hawke Jr., Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance. “Offering customers the products and services they want on-line, such as savings bonds, is the competitive challenge banks and other financial institutions must take up. Making it easy for bank customers to buy U.S. Savings Bonds from home with just a few keystrokes is a 'win-win' situation for both the savings bonds customer and the financial institution.”

The home banking customer completes a simple savings bonds order form on the computer and tells the bank which account to charge. The issuing agent, Community Credit Union, then charges the customer's account for the bond and sends the order electronically to the savings bonds processing center at the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. Within a week, the bond is mailed to the customer.

The Bureau of the Public Debt is working with other financial software companies and financial institutions to provide the same purchase option for savings bonds. The wide variety of approaches to home banking by the industry precludes the development of a single, standard software package. Digital Insight, who worked with Community Credit Union, plans to offer the purchase of savings bonds as an option to the more than one hundred financial institutions that use their banking software.

Recently the Series EE savings bonds were made a more attractive way to save. Beginning in May 1997, the new series EE bonds earn interest every month, rather than every six months, and the interest earned is 90% of the 5-year Treasury rates, up from 85%. And now, the introduction of the home banking purchasing option makes buying savings bonds more convenient for the customer and selling them easier for financial institutions.

For more information on U.S. Savings Bonds visit the Bureau of the Public Debt's web site on the Internet: www.publicdebt.treas.gov or www.savingsbonds.gov.