Bond Drive Kickoff Draws Interest
By Jan Ehrman
Potentially stormy weather may have sent the festivities indoors, but spirits were flying high as NIH kicked off this year's U.S. Savings Bonds campaign May 9 at the Clinical Center's Masur Auditorium. The event, "It's a Great Way to Save," was attended by a moderate crowd of staffers who heard why Savings Bonds may now be more attractive than ever before.
Special guest speakers, an appearance by a local professional soccer star, good music, and a number of attractive door prizes helped lure inquisitive employees for the annual event. But perhaps the most powerful incentive was a timely, investor-friendly move offered recently by the U.S. Treasury Department. This fortuitous, systematic change was not overlooked during the ceremony.
Playfully quizzing the audience, NIH deputy director Dr. Ruth Kirschstein asked, "How many of you realize that the U.S. Treasury acted swiftly last week to raise its rates, which means that interest on bonds accrues faster and the risk of penalty (for early withdrawal) is reduced?" Specifically, the new interest rate is 90 percent of the average yield for 5-year Treasury securities over the preceding 6 months. As alluded to by Kirchstein, interest on the new Series EE Savings Bonds now accrues monthly, instead of twice a year. In layman's language, the individual investing $10,000 in bonds can currently reap between $550 and $600 in interest compared to a previous $450 a year.
Dr. Patricia Grady, NINR director, also reviewed ways the government has made things not only more desirable, but also easier for those investing. "Later this year, Treasury will introduce online buying (of the bonds) with credit cards. And early in 1998, it will offer the first inflationproof Savings Bonds, with returns indexed to consumer prices," she said.
The ceremony was further highlighted by the appearance of Jim Larkin, a spokesman from Treasury, and Washington Warthog soccer player Tony Snyder, who signed autographs. The dancing, prancing team mascot "Rooter" was also on hand, spreading goodwill and handshakes to employees, who were enjoying the talented Wheaton High School Jazz Ensemble.
A special note of thanks goes to Geico, which contributed lunches for the band members. A number of employees gleefully walked away with door prizes. Twanda Johnson, NIGMS, won a $100 Savings Bond, courtesy of the NIH Federal Credit Union. Carol Vandriak, NCRR, received a $25 gift certificate from NIH's Recreation and Welfare Association. Portia Baker, NHGRI, took home two complimentary movie tickets from Cineplex Odeon. Liem Nguyen, NLM, captured $100 worth of children's books, while Leocadie Ayemonche, DCRT, received two tickets to see the Bowie Baysox play baseball. In addition, Martha Guice, NICHD, gathered a pair of tickets to see the Warthogs in action, and Patsy McCabe, CC, won a T-shirt from R&W.
Information on Savings Bonds can be obtained from a variety of sources. For current recorded rate information, call 1-800-4US-BOND. To receive online information, go to: http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov. Your local savings banking institution and your Savings Bond canvasser within your office can also supply you with details about purchasing bonds.
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