Resolution Supporting the Return of Unclaimed U.S. Savings Bonds to their Rightful Owners

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All Resolutions Passed at the 2008 Spring Meeting

WHEREAS, the United States Department of the Treasury holds more than $16 billion in matured, unredeemed United States savings bonds. The total number of matured, unredeemed savings bonds is estimated at almost 40 million bonds; and

WHEREAS, officials of the United States Department of the Treasury have stated that their agency lacks the legal authority to turn over to the states any funds representing matured, unredeemed savings bonds, nor the ability to identify the names and last-known addresses of the vast majority of the owners matured, unredeemed savings bonds issued prior to 1974, nor has the effective systems in place to identify, locate, contact and pay the owners of these unredeemed bonds; and

WHEREAS, under common and escheat law, the states are charged with the responsibility of locating missing owners of matured, unredeemed savings bonds and reuniting these owners with their lost assets. The states already have in place unparalleled and effective outreach programs that in 2006 returned over $1.7 billion in lost or unclaimed property to the rightful owners; and

WHEREAS, State treasurers administer unclaimed property programs in 33 states and the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Since 1999, the National Association of State Treasurers has sought to work cooperatively with the Department of the Treasury to reunite owners of matured, unredeemed United States savings bonds with their property. States treasurers have proposed numerous, creative approaches to facilitate outreach and reunificiation, and have requested that the Department of the Treasury consider state request to redeem savings bonds retrieved from abandoned safe deposit boxes. The Department has raised various concerns, which the state treasurers have attempted to resolve. To date, the Department has not turned over any bonds or underlying owner information to the states; and

WHEREAS, the states, through the National Association of State Treasurers and the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, have developed a legislative proposal to establish a program designed to leverage existing state unclaimed property laws in order to return matured, unredeemed savings bonds to their rightful owners. The legislative proposal details the compilation and dissemination of owner data to the states and the facilitation of the claims process.

BE IT NOW RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments does hereby endorse and support the efforts of the National Association of State Treasurers to establish an effective system of returning matured, unredeemed savings bonds to their rightful owners.

Adopted this 31st Day of May, 2008 at the CSG 75th Anniversary Celebration and Spring Meeting in Lexington, Kentucky