U.S. Government Pays $890,000 to Keep Open Bank Accounts with No Money in Them

Saturday, April 27, 2013
(screenshot: Steven Musil, CNET)

It doesn’t get any more wasteful in Washington than this: Spending nearly a million dollars on empty bank accounts.


The federal government currently has 13,712 accounts with no money in them. But the accounts are still open, and that means paying banks $65 a year for each unused one. The total comes to about $890,000.


Most of these empty accounts were originally created to distribute grants from the Department of Health and Human Services. Once the full amount of the grant has been distributed, the account that serviced it is supposed to be closed. But because of required audits and the general snail’s pace of government bureaucracy, the empty accounts often remain open long after their purpose has been fulfilled.


The Obama administration says it’s working on closing down these accounts, but it takes time.


Danny Werfel, the controller at the Office of Management and Budget, told The Washington Post in an email that they’re making progress. After all, the number of empty, yet open accounts used to be 28,000.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Feds Spend At Least $890,000 on Fees for Empty Accounts (by David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post)


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