Louisiana senator: Treasury to boost work on savings bonds

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FILE – In this June 15, 2018, file photo, cash is fanned out from a wallet in North Andover, Mass. Halfway through the year is an ideal time to check on your finances and prepare for year-end expenses. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s U.S. Sen. John Kennedy says the federal Treasury Department will expand its work to pay out nearly $26 billion in unclaimed savings bonds.

The Republican senator pressed the federal agency to do more to get people the money that belongs to them. That includes about $340 million in U.S. savings bonds for people in Louisiana that haven’t been paid out.

The Advocate reports that a Treasury Department spokesman confirmed the agency intends to create an online tool letting people check whether they have unredeemed savings bonds dated after 1974.

The information also will be shared with state treasurers to promote through Unclaimed Property Program websites.

Treasury also has agreed to study how to digitize information on older savings bonds so that information can eventually be shared.

Kennedy, Louisiana’s former state treasurer, made a name for himself at home by boosting efforts to return unclaimed property owed to the state’s residents, such as money from old savings accounts, payroll checks, stocks and dividends, insurance proceeds, oil royalty payments and utility deposits.

In Washington, he’s turned similar attention to the U.S. savings bonds, saying he spoke to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about the effort.

“This money belongs in the hands of the American people. It shouldn’t be under lock and key at Treasury. Grandmothers purchased these bonds for grandchildren. Great aunts and great uncles bought bonds to support the war effort,” Kennedy said.

U.S. Savings Bonds, a form of loan to the federal government, were heavily promoted during World War II as a patriotic way for Americans to support the war.

In their simplest form, savings bonds are purchased for a lower denomination — $50 or $100 — and mature in 20 to 40 years to twice that amount. No annual interest is given, and it’s presented as a lump sum payout after they have matured.

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