Rules to buy savings bonds change

January 12, 1992|By Jim Talley | Jim Talley,Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- If you want to encourage thrift by giving U.S. Savings Bonds, there's a new procedure to be aware of in buying them this year.

In an effort to cut costs and improve accuracy, the Treasury Department is phasing in a regional delivery system for savings bonds purchased over-the-counter during the first quarter.

Under the new process, customers will go to a bank or thrift and fill out a shorter, simpler savings bond order form, which will be sent to the Federal Reserve to be filled. Customers can also get a non-negotiable gift certificate representing the purchase until the bond arrives in the mail, usually within a week or so. Under the old system, a customer would go to the bank or thrift, fill out a form, pay for the bond and the teller would type it up and hand it over.

But John Mastrogiovanni, area manager for the Treasury's savings bond division in Miami, said that process is inefficient. Banks must keep blank bonds in stock, and correcting typing errors can be expensive. "Tracing down the discrepancies has cost the Treasury a lot of money over the decades," Mr. Mastrogiovanni said last week.

Meanwhile, some bank officers said that reconciling differences between their records and the Fed's on bonds bought and sold is a time-consuming hassle.

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