No more paper bonds

Published 10:22 pm Thursday, December 29, 2011

U.S. Savings Bonds to be sold online only

The old days of paper savings bonds are over.

Today is the last day customers are able to purchase paper savings bonds at financial institutions. As of Jan. 1, savings bonds will be sold only through the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website.

The move is expected to save about $70 million during the first five years, according to a press release from the Treasury Department.

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“Savings bonds are very much a part of this country’s history and culture, and will remain a part of America’s future — but in electronic form,” Public Debt Commissioner Van Zeck said in a press release. “It’s time for us to take a 1935 model and make it a 21st-century investment tool.”

The U.S. Savings Bond program began on Feb. 1, 1935, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation that allowed the Treasury Department to sell the bonds. One month later, the first series of savings bonds was issued.

Gail Williams, vice president of SunTrust Bank on North Main Street in Suffolk, said she is concerned that the new method will discourage people from purchasing savings bonds.

“If they have to go through this kind of aggravation, they’ll just get $50 and give it to somebody in cash, as opposed to ordering a savings bond,” she said.

Williams said many SunTrust customers who purchase savings bonds are older and don’t have Internet access at home. Even those who do are concerned about giving out their bank account information and their children’s or grandchildren’s Social Security numbers.

“I’d say we’d be lucky if 50 percent of those folks have computers, so they don’t have any way to order them,” Williams said.

She added that the SunTrust branch will assist customers by helping them go online and order their bonds.

“It’s a great way to save in small increments,” she said.

Although paper savings bonds no longer are available for purchase at banks and credit unions, customers still can redeem them at the financial institutions. Unmatured bonds that are lost, stolen or destroyed can be reissued in paper or as electronic bonds.

To purchase bonds using the Internet, visit