Stefan Goslawski mailed to redeem the EE savings bond this summer. The US Treasury Department received its form on September 11, according to a certified mail receipt.
It took the Allentown resident an inordinate amount of time and effort to get his money.
Trying to call the Treasury proved unsuccessful, Goslawski said, although he was told it would take 13 weeks for the money to be deposited into his account due to the high volume of requests for the series bonds. I.
Demand to purchase Series I savings bonds was so great that it crashed the TreasuryDirect website where these bonds are purchased, according to the agency and various media outlets.
The I Bond rate, which was at 9.62% until Friday and has gained popularity in recent months as a hedge against historically high inflation, has caused delays more for consumers like Goslawski trying to cash in their maturing savings bonds.
“Can you imagine going to your bank and waiting for your money, and they say you have to wait 13 weeks?” said Goslawski, declining to provide the amount of his bond. He said he does business with a local credit union, which does not pay savings bonds. This required him to fill out a form with the Treasury to get the money. He has also reached out to at least one federal elected official for help without success.
The Morning Call contacted the Treasury Department and agency spokesman John Rizzo confirmed the processing time typically takes 13 weeks for people seeking to redeem through the paper process. He said the unprecedented volume has put “significant pressure and strain on an application of TreasuryDirect’s 20-year-old website.
“We tripled TreasuryDirect capacity last week and saw many customers successfully create accounts and buy bonds at record highs,” Rizzo said.
“The vast majority of customers redeeming bonds can do so online at TreasuryDirect or through their local bank on the same day,” Rizzo said. “In some limited cases, customers require additional certification or choose to redeem their obligation directly to TreasuryDirect by mail.”
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Although Rizzo could not provide details about Goslawski’s case, Goslawski said Monday he heard from the agency that his savings bond repayment was being processed. He later said the money arrived in his credit union account on Wednesday, about half the time he was told.
Customers with questions can contact TreasuryDirect by phone or email, Rizzo said. The phone number is 844-284-2676; go to the TreasuryDirect website and look under “Contact” to email the agency.
Alyssa Young, a financial advisor at MTM Financial Group in Lower Nazareth Township, said a few clients have expressed difficulty buying I bonds.
“They’ve become so popular, with such high inflation,” Young said.
Paper savings bonds were once available for purchase at many banks and credit unions. But due to the Treasury Department’s move to a virtual system, you can no longer do that unless you want to buy an I bond when you receive a federal tax refund, according to the agency. Holders of matured savings bonds should be able to cash them immediately at their financial institution.
One more thing: the Treasury released the next rate for the Series I bond on Tuesday; it is 6.89%. The rate resets every six months in April and November, in part based on changes in the consumer price index.
Morning Call reporter Anthony Salamone can be reached at [email protected]