Utah State Treasurer
David Damschen

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Treasurer Damschen announces $54.8 million new lost property now online for claim

Posted on: April 8th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – April 8, 2019 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced that the Utah Unclaimed Property Division received more than $54.8 million in lost property at the end of 2018. This property comes from sources, such as dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, safe deposit box contents and unpaid insurance benefits.

“We encourage Utahns to check mycash.utah.gov every year as they file their taxes to see if they have lost property to claim. We receive tens of millions of dollars in new unclaimed property each year, so the odds are good that you or a relative have unclaimed property, even if you haven’t in the past,” Treasurer Damschen said.

A property is by law considered abandoned and must be turned over to the state if the holder of the property has not had contact with the owner for three years. Property holders remitted 382,349 new properties to the Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer’s Office by the November 1, 2018 annual reporting deadline, along with the names and last-known addresses of owners. The Division currently safeguards more than $370 million in unclaimed property.

“Despite our aggressive education campaigns, many people still don’t search for property because they don’t think they could have lost anything. But that is exactly what we need them to do,” Unclaimed Property Division Administrator Dennis Johnston said. “There are many ways to lose property. People might move and forget they had a deposit with the utility company, or they might be beneficiaries of life insurance policies they didn’t know existed. Checking to see if you or your friends and relatives have lost property is simple, easy and something everyone should do at least once a year.”

Unclaimed property is usually money, but the Unclaimed Property Division also regularly receives items from abandoned safe deposit boxes that can be claimed. The Division has a vault full of interesting items like coins, baseball cards, art and photographs. These items are periodically sold via auction, and the proceeds remain available to be claimed by the rightful owner.

Individuals may submit a claim for properties of deceased relatives if they can prove they are the rightful heir. In any case where there is more than one heir, they can claim their portion of the property.

For more information and to search property, visit mycash.utah.gov or call 801-715-3300. 

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Utah Treasurer invites Utah women to attend first annual financial empowerment conference

Posted on: April 2nd, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – April 2, 2019 –Treasurer David Damschen today announced that Utah’s first annual women’s financial empowerment conference will be held on April 22 at the Sheraton Salt Lake Hotel. Conference attendees will learn how to improve personal and family finances, maximize income, reduce debt, improve credit, start a business, save for retirement and develop a financial support network to build a more secure financial future.

“As chair of the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education, I am grateful for the opportunity to bring together some of Utah’s top financial leaders to share their knowledge and skills with Utah women,” Treasurer Damschen said.  “This is an excellent opportunity for women of all ages, cultures and financial situations to grow their financial capability together.”

The conference is focused on women because of some of the unique financial situations women face. Women live longer than men and are more likely to outlive their assets. Women are also more likely to take on caretaker responsibilities, teach their children about money and help elderly or disabled loved ones manage their finances. Additionally, women are increasingly playing a greater role in the workforce and market. Two-thirds of household breadwinners and co-breadwinners are women, and 89 percent of financial decisions are made by women.

“Women fill many important roles in our state. It is critical to equip them with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to make sound financial decisions for themselves and their families,” said Susan Speirs, CEO of the Utah Association of CPAs and chair of the nonprofit responsible for organizing the conference.

The cost of attending the conference is $25 and includes all sessions, breakfast and lunch.  Scholarships are available for those in need. Those interested in scholarships should contact the Utah Office of State Treasurer by phone, 801-538-1042, or email, sto@utah.gov.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit: womeninthemoney.org.

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New technology helps Unclaimed Property Division reunite more lost money with rightful owners

Posted on: March 12th, 2019

More robust search technology increases the average number of properties per claim by 9%

SALT LAKE CITY – March 12, 2019 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced that the August implementation of the new unclaimed property management system has resulted in increased efficiencies and a better user experience.

Since the conversion, the average number of properties per claim has increased by 9% due to more robust search technology.  

“The new system makes it even easier for Utahns to search for unclaimed property, and it enables us to process claims more quickly,” Treasurer Damschen said. “You can now upload claim documentation directly to the website, instead of having to mail it to us or deliver it in person.”  

Some other new features include improved online payments, manual online reporting for small reports and stronger protections to ensure security of personal information.

“During the past several years, we have placed significant focus on leveraging technology to make record levels of unclaimed property payouts to rightful owners,” Unclaimed Property Administrator Dennis Johnston said. “We are thrilled by the results of the system conversion. It has taken us to the next level, improving the claims process and enabling us to reunite more unclaimed property with rightful owners.”

For more information and to search property, visit mycash.utah.gov or call 801-715-3300.

Facebook Live: facebook.com/utah.unclaimed

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Utah State Treasurer appoints director of new Land Trusts Protection and Advocacy Office

Posted on: March 7th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – March 7, 2019 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced the appointment of Justin Atwater as the director of the newly created Land Trusts Protection and Advocacy Office.

During the 2018 general session, the legislature authorized the creation of the office to advocate for Utah trust lands beneficiaries, oversee SITLA and SITFO administrations and help the public understand and support these endowments.  The office is overseen by the state treasurer and a newly created Protection and Advocacy Committee.

“The depth and quality of Mr. Atwater’s background in law, government operations, real estate development and investment uniquely qualifies him to serve as the first director of the Advocacy Office,” Treasurer Damschen said. “Monitoring complex land and investment management decisions to ensure they benefit all current and future beneficiaries requires specialized expertise that we are fortunate to have found in Mr. Atwater.”

Atwater brings more than a decade of experience in real estate development, management, entitlement, leasing, law and investment. He recently served as executive director of the State Executive Branch Ethics Commission and as the chief operating officer and general counsel for a Utah-based real estate development firm. In a previous role, he assisted the developer of the largest ski terrain in North America in achieving several legal and real estate development results that shaped the future of the mountain recreation and development landscape in Utah.

“I am enthusiastic about developing an environment of cooperation and providing responsible, undivided advocacy for the preservation, stability and growth of trust lands assets for years to come,” Atwater said.

The Protection and Advocacy Committee was formed last fall.  The committee screened, selected and interviewed candidates during the past six months.  They recently presented Treasurer Damschen with their top two nominations.

“We are thrilled by Mr. Atwater’s appointment and are eager to work with him to advocate for and protect the interests of current and future trust beneficiaries,” Protection and Advocacy Board Chair Mel Brown said.

Atwater will assume his role on March 18.

About the School and Institutional Trust System

When Utah became a state in 1896, Congress granted approximately seven million acres of land into twelve separate trusts for the support of state institutions, the largest being a trust for the perpetual support of public schools. The land has been administered by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) since 1994. In 2014, the Utah State Legislature created SITFO as an independent state agency with a five-member Board of Trustees, chaired by the state treasurer, to invest the funds produced by SITLA’s administration of the land.

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Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education kicks off year of savings with Utah Saves Week

Posted on: February 25th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – February 25, 2019 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced that Utah is kicking off a savings-focused year with “Utah Saves Week” and urges Utahns to automate their savings.

Treasurer Damschen chairs the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education, an organization comprised of more than 50 private and public entities that share a common mission to increase the financial capability of Utahns.

“A primary objective of the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education is to support programs that empower individuals and families to achieve economic stability, opportunity and upward mobility,” Treasurer Damschen said. “Utah Saves Week serves as a good reminder for Utahns to automate their savings, while helping connect them with free information, tools and resources to help them attain their savings goals and navigate an increasingly complex financial world.”

Utah Saves is a tool that helps Utahns hold themselves accountable to their savings goals and receive free professional advice from online resources. Utahns are encouraged to pledge to save online at utahsaves.org to receive savings advice tailored specifically to their savings goals.

“You can start small with your savings goals and habits.  You just need to start somewhere,” Utah Saves Coordinator and AAA Fair Credit Foundation Executive Director Martha Wunderli said. “Some examples of savings goals include saving for a vacation, paying off a debt, purchasing a home and building your retirement nest egg. Creating good savings habits can have life-changing results over the long-term.”

Treasurer Damschen and the Council’s mascot, a dollar bill named Bill, will join Senator Dan Hemmert during floor time on Monday, February 25 and Representative Jeff Moss during floor time on Wednesday, February 27 for a reading of the Governor’s “Utah Saves Week” declaration.  

Utah Saves Week is February 25 – March 2, 2019. The Office of State Treasurer will share savings tips and information throughout the week on the Office’s Facebook and Twitter.  Utah Saves will also promote useful information and contests throughout the week on social media.

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Utah maintains AAA credit rating from all major rating agencies, saves taxpayer dollars on transportation projects

Posted on: January 15th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (January 15, 2019) – Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Treasurer David Damschen today announced that S&P Global, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have reaffirmed the State’s AAA credit rating – the highest rating a state can receive.

“Utah once again stands out as a leader in the nation for its broad fiscal and economic success, which can be largely credited to our conservative approach to budgeting, debt management and other financial policies,” Gov. Herbert said. “In Utah, we are thorough and collaborative in our fiscal management. We have worked closely with the legislature to adhere to the principles of fiscal discipline and budgetary restraint, making our state one of only a handful to receive a AAA rating by all three rating agencies. I applaud the Utah team for this collective achievement.”

Agencies base their ratings on a range of financial, economic, managerial and institutional factors. Utah’s history of continuous AAA bond ratings dates back to 1965, when S&P initiated its rating system. The State’s AAA rating with Moody’s commenced in 1973 and with Fitch Ratings in 1992.

“We’re seeing overwhelming demand from investors for our bonds,” Treasurer Damschen said. “This is in clear response to the strength of our credit, which allows us to finance large projects at the lowest interest rates available in the market and ultimately save big for Utah taxpayers.”

The rating affirmations coincide with today’s legislatively authorized $128 million general obligation (GO) bond transaction, which will finance transportation projects. During the December special legislative session, the governor and legislature jointly approved additional appropriations for the prison project, which eliminated the need to borrow for the prison project this year and significantly reduced today’s transaction from the initially-planned $375 million – increasing savings on prison project costs.

As cited in the rating reports, the agencies’ rationales for Utah’s strong ratings include:

  • Strong governmental framework, with a constitutional requirement to maintain a balanced budget and a fiscal policy that allows for changes to the revenue structure and program spending by a simple majority of the legislature.
  • Conservative fiscal and debt management policies that include constitutional or statutory limits on appropriation growth and debt issuance to keep debt levels low and quickly amortizing, despite demands of population growth.
  • Continued leadership in the management and funding of long-term liabilities for pensions and other post-retirement benefits, leading to low fixed costs relative to its peers and contributing to the state’s good budgetary flexibility.
  • Successful and timely action when addressing budgetary imbalances.
  • Reserve funds that accumulate based on a statutorily determined formula.
  • Job growth across most major sectors, including solid growth in trade, transportation and utilities – the state’s largest employment sector.
  • An unemployment rate that is typically well below the national average.
  • Annual real GDP growth that has continuously surpassed the nation’s since 2013 and is expected to continue to outperform the nation due to a favorable industry mix and strong population growth.

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Utah students to be honored at The Stock Market Game Awards Banquet on January 4

Posted on: January 3rd, 2019

State Treasurer David Damschen to recognize 32 Utah students and teachers for winning statewide financial education competition

SALT LAKE CITY – January 3, 2019 – Students, teachers, government officials and local business leaders will celebrate the 32 winning students and teachers of The Stock Market Game™ fall 2018 statewide competition during an awards banquet on January 4. The banquet, hosted by Utah State Treasurer David Damschen, will feature student speeches, information about the competition and opportunities to learn more about financial responsibility.

Northridge High School student Alexis Aguirre’s team placed first in the high school division. “My favorite part of the game was getting an opportunity to invest into a real-time market simulation – getting to see if the decisions we made would make or lose us money,” she said. “We learned how society plays a key factor to investing, how to invest during a bullish market, deciding when was the right time to buy and sell a stock and competing against a lot of other high schoolers.”

The winning team in the elementary division based some of their most significant investment decisions on the news, which helped them claim their victory. “Our favorite parts of the Stock Market Game were the tension and the competition of the last few weeks, as we climbed up the rankings and passed the previous first place team in the last few days of the competition,” Nibley Elementary students MaCade Brown, Kaid Johnson and Brooklyn Bishop said. “We also improved our teamwork and decision-making skills. It was hard to decide on whether or not to sell our stocks. We had a terrific time learning about companies and how and why they are traded on the stock market.”

The Utah Office of State Treasurer recently assumed the responsibility of administering the game from the Utah Division of Securities. Complementary to this new charge, Treasurer Damschen chairs the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education, an organization comprised of more than 50 private and public entities that share a common mission to increase the financial capability of Utahns.

“A primary objective of the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education is to advocate for and strengthen financial education in Utah schools. The Stock Market Game piques student interest in some of the important concepts taught in the classroom by adding an element of competition,” Treasurer Damschen said. “I appreciate the incredible efforts of teachers and students to improve financial knowledge and look forward to the opportunity to celebrate their success.”

The awards banquet will be held at noon in the Wasatch Room on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The ceremony will begin at 12:35 p.m. This event is open to the media. Due to capacity limitations, other guests may attend by invitation only.

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Utah leaders evaluate 10-year financial literacy effort

Posted on: October 19th, 2018

Utah State Treasurer David Damschen and Auditor John Dougall are meeting with financial literacy leaders at the Utah Jump$tart Coalition Partners Meeting on October 19 at the Wells Fargo Building in Salt Lake City. This annual gathering focuses on how businesses, nonprofits and schools can work together to prepare youth for financial success.

“Utah is the only A+ state in the nation for financial and economic literacy education,” said Anna Tibbitts, Director of the Utah Jump$tart Coalition, “For the past decade, Utah has taken a proactive role in preparing students to make smart financial decisions. This gathering of financial literacy leaders is designed to evaluate what we have accomplished and what we can do better moving forward.”

The Office of the State Auditor recently released its review of Utah’s General Financial Literacy (GFL) graduation requirement and associated program. The 2017‐18 school year marked the ten‐year anniversary of the enactment of Utah’s GFL legislative mandate.

State Auditor John Dougall said, “The results from our Office’s review show that Utah students who have completed the GFL requirement appear to have better personal financial knowledge and make better behavioral choices than those who have not. The study also identifies opportunities to improve the effectiveness of the program itself to help further strengthen the financial skills of Utah’s young adults as well opportunities to enhance program oversight.”

The report may be found on the Office’s website at auditor.utah.gov and specifically at: https://reporting.auditor.utah.gov/servlet/servlet.FileDownload?file=015410000038ypZAAQ .

Treasurer Damschen chairs the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education, an organization comprised of more than 50 private and public entities that share a common mission to increase the financial capability of Utahns.

“A primary objective of the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education is to advocate for and strengthen K-12 financial education in Utah,” Treasurer Damschen said. “I applaud the outstanding efforts of organizations like the Utah Jump$tart Coalition and the Utah State Board of Education to make Utah the leader in the nation in financial literacy. The council is eager to support the implementation of the auditor’s recommendations to strengthen a program that is critical in providing our youth with the knowledge and resources they need to establish a strong foundation for a financially secure future.”

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Treasurer Damschen announces new unclaimed property system, enhanced website

Posted on: October 9th, 2018

Unclaimed Property Division reunites $24.4 million with rightful owners in FY 2018

SALT LAKE CITY – October 9, 2018 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced the implementation of a new unclaimed property management system and an enhanced website that incorporate the latest advancements in technology to provide claimants and holders with the simplest, most secure experience possible.

“The newly redesigned website makes it even easier for Utahns to search for unclaimed property and for holders to report unclaimed property to the State,” Treasurer Damschen said. “Some of the new features include an enhanced search function for more comprehensive searches, the ability to upload claim documentation directly to the website, improved online payments, manual online reporting for small reports and stronger protections to ensure security of personal information.”

Last year, the Unclaimed Property Division put $24.4 million back into the pockets of rightful owners and processed 19,705 claims – that is four times as many claims as 10 years ago. In recent years, the Division has paid more than 50 percent of claims in just one week. That percentage should increase with the new system.

“During the past several years, we have placed significant focus on leveraging technology to make record levels of unclaimed property payouts to rightful owners,” Unclaimed Property Administrator Dennis Johnston said. “The new KAPS system and enhanced website will take us to the next level, improving the claims process and enabling us to reunite more unclaimed property with rightful owners.”

The Division received more than $38.4 million in lost property at the end of 2017. This property comes from sources, such as dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, safe deposit box contents and unpaid insurance benefits.

For more information and to search property, visit mycash.utah.gov or call 801-715-3300.

Video: https://youtu.be/NAA38ZYZrPM.

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Treasurer Damschen to lead the National Association of State Treasurers as the 2019 president

Posted on: October 1st, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – October 1, 2018 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today was elected by his fellow state treasurers to serve as the 2019 president of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). NAST is a bipartisan association comprised of state treasurers and state finance officials with comparable responsibilities.

“I am honored to lead this national bipartisan association that has for more than four decades addressed some of the country’s toughest fiscal challenges,” Treasurer Damschen said. “NAST provides a wealth of knowledge and resources to treasurers across the country, as we work to improve the nation’s aging infrastructure, strengthen public pension systems, prudently invest public funds, effectively manage public debt, address issues of cybersecurity, help our citizens achieve financial security, reunite unclaimed properties with rightful owners and so much more.”

NAST serves its members through educational conferences and webinars, a variety of working groupspolicy advocacy and publications that provide information about developments in public finance.

Treasurer Damschen served as the 2017 chairman of the NAST Legislative Committee and the 2018 NAST senior vice president alongside the current NAST president, Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce.

“It has been my distinct honor to work closely with Treasurer Pearce this year. I am grateful for her leadership, vision and tireless service that have taken NAST to the next level,” Treasurer Damschen said.

To learn more about the Office of the Utah State Treasurer, visit: treasurer.utah.gov. Additional information on NAST is available at: nast.org.

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