Raleigh, N.C. — The State Treasurer's Office would be able to search for the owners of long-matured U.S. savings bonds under a measure that has cleared the Senate and gotten a nod from the House Finance Committee.
"Right now, the Treasurer's Office holds in its possession about $450,000 worth of unclaimed and presumed abandoned U.S. savings bonds," Cindy Avrette, an attorney with the legislature's Research Division, told the House Finance Committee on Thursday.
Typically, when the treasurer holds abandoned assets, such as untended bank accounts or refunds due to utility customers, it places that money in an escheats fund. There, the money earns interest that is used to pay for college scholarships. In the mean time, the Treasurer's Office tried to find the owners of the abandoned property through advertisements and events.
But federal law prevents the treasurer from just liquidating the bonds, Avrette said. So, House Bill 27 allows the treasurer to go to court to win title to bonds that have not been redeemed for more than three years after they mature.
"There will be a very aggressive effort to find the owners," Finance Committee Chairwoman Julia Howard said.
Tony Solari, a legislative liaison for the Treasurer's Office, said his department was used to looking for the owners of unclaimed property, unlike the federal government.
"The U.S. Treasury doesn't have the ability or the interest to find the owners," Solari said.
The House is expected to vote on the measure Friday, which would send it to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature or veto.