Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2009 - 2014


Publication: 2012-12-02



Name:Owen Ambur


Name:Bureau of the Public Debt


Officially, the Bureau of the Public Debt was formed on June 30, 1940. However, this does not begin to tell our whole story. We trace our ancestry from the time of the American Revolution, when our country's need to borrow money and account for the resulting debt began. For much of our nation's history, these functions were performed within Treasury by the Office of the Register, the Treasurer, and the Division of Loans and Currency. It was not until 1919 that the first Commissioner of the Public Debt was appointed to direct most of the borrowing and debt accounting operations. In 1940, Public Debt was established as a separate Treasury bureau, bringing together the borrowing and debt accounting operations into one organization.


  • Van ZeckCommissioner of the Public Debt

  • Department of the Treasury

  • Bureau of Public Debt ProgramsOver the last twenty years, Public Debt has assumed several additional responsibilities, including administering government securities regulations, handling all of Treasury operations involving federal investments and borrowings, and providing various shared services to other federal agencies. Today, Public Debt's responsibilities are carried out under five distinct programs. Each of these programs is described in more detail under the Program Directions section of this plan. Here we briefly orient you to our businesses:

  • Wholesale Securities Services ProgramInvolves auctioning of Treasury marketable securities (Treasury bills, notes, bonds, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, known as TIPS); oversight of operations for holding and servicing most of these securities and for supporting transfers of securities in the secondary market; and administration of government securities regulations.

  • Government Agency Investment Services ProgramSupports federal, state, and local government agency investments in special purpose, nonmarketable Treasury securities, as well as federal agencies' borrowings from Treasury.

  • Retail Securities Services ProgramServes more than 55 million retail customers who have invested in Treasury marketable and savings securities directly with Treasury.

  • Summary Debt Accounting ProgramAccounts for and reports on the outstanding public debt of the United States and related interest expenses.

  • Franchise Services ProgramProvides competitively priced administrative and information technology services to other federal agencies, as part of Treasury's Franchise Fund and in support of a federal initiative to gain efficiency through agencies' use of shared services.

  • Federal Reserve BanksThe Federal Reserve Banks, as our fiscal agents, are a necessary and integral element in the accomplishment of our Wholesale and Retail program strategies. We'll continue to make effective use of the Federal Reserve's capabilities and expertise to meet our responsibilities to individual and institutional investors in Treasury securities. While our relationship with Federal Reserve Banks is technically one of principal and agent, in practice it is a dynamic partnership based on common goals of delivering high-quality service and conducting efficient operations. We believe that a values-based relationship with our most significant business partners will produce greater success in our operations. This longstanding relationship, together with the Federal Reserve's association with financial institutions and its unique set of responsibilities for open market operations and payments, provides the federal government with continuous market contact and significant operational flexibility in administering the public debt. We'll maintain an active, executive linkage with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Reserve Bank officials, and appropriate organizations within the Federal Reserve System to assist us in identifying policy issues, developing program direction, resolving problems, and exploring new ideas. We'll continue to involve the Federal Reserve at an early stage in significant issues of mutual concern and expect them to reciprocate. Our decisions regarding the work that we request the Federal Reserve Banks to do will continue to be based on our assessment of where the work can best be performed. We are committed to having the work done where it can be performed most effectively and efficiently, while maintaining high-quality customer service. We will direct Banks to perform work for us only when such work is appropriate under the fiscal agency relationship. In overseeing the operations performed for us, we'll provide Federal Reserve Banks with standards for quality and expectations for performance; determine appropriate reporting requirements; and monitor costs, productivity, and results achieved. In doing so, we'll recognize the value of the collaborative relationship, preserve the Banks' flexibility in managing day-to-day fiscal operations, and respect their separate banking responsibilities. We'll continue to provide the Federal Reserve with constructive feedback concerning their operational performance and the quality of their services. We're responsible for the work that the Federal Reserve Banks perform for us and are accountable for the costs they incur on our behalf. We'll continue to validate the accuracy and appropriate allocation of their costs, and we'll fully reimburse the Banks for the work they perform as our fiscal agents. We'll report to Congress the full costs incurred for administering the public debt, including Federal Reserve services.