After much vacillating on how much of my emergency fund I should sink into I Bonds, I went ahead and put $2,000 in last week. After reading more about the probability that the Fed would cut rates yet again today, I decided that inflation protection just keeps looking better. Today was hectic and I wasn't sure I'd have time to head to my bank, but based on Jonathan's informative post it should have been possible to get them at another bank as long as I had cash, which I did. So this morning I headed to the bank branch in the student union to see if they sold bonds.
The girl at the counter responded to my question by asking me if I had an account at their bank. I told her I didn't, but had cash. She rather snippily replied that that wouldn't work because they "need to track who buys bonds." I informed her that I had my driver's license and social security number, but she insisted, "Because of the 9/11 and the PATRIOT Act, you can't buy bonds if you don't have an account here. It's policy."
So, never mind that my savings bond order form goes straight to the federal government, it's a security risk to let me purchase U.S. government bonds without opening a bank account? How would having ten bucks in a checking account at that bank make anything more secure? (I'll spare you the rant about the U.S. government's cavalier attitude about the importance of civil liberties in general.)
Fortunately, I had time this afternoon to walk to the main branch of my bank where I filled out paperwork with the same clerk who sold me the bonds last week. I guess there must not be much demand for savings bonds because she remembered me. It took a bit longer this time because she tried to talk me into changing to a different kind of checking account, which would actually have been a good deal if I weren't moving away soon.