Subpart 28.2 - Sureties and Other Security for Bonds
28.200 Scope of subpart.
This subpart prescribes procedures for the use of sureties and other security to protect the Government from financial losses.
28.201 Requirements for security.
(a) Agencies shall obtain adequate security for bonds (including coinsurance and reinsurance agreements) required or used with a contract for supplies or services (including construction). Acceptable forms of security include-
(1) Corporate or individual sureties; or
(2) Any of the types of security authorized in lieu of sureties by 28.204.
(b) Solicitations shall not preclude offerors from using the types of surety or other security permitted by this subpart, unless prohibited by law or regulation.
28.202 Acceptability of corporate sureties.
(1) Corporate sureties offered for bonds furnished with contracts performed in the United States or its outlying areas must appear on the list contained in the Department of the Treasury's Listing of Approved Sureties (Treasury Department Circular 570), “Companies Holding Certificates of Authority as Acceptable Sureties on Federal Bonds and as Acceptable Reinsuring Companies.”
(2) The penal amount of the bond should not exceed the surety's underwriting limit stated in the Treasury Department Circular 570. If the penal amount exceeds the underwriting limit, the bond will be acceptable only if-
(i) The amount which exceeds the specified limit is coinsured or reinsured; and
(ii) The amount of coinsurance or reinsurance does not exceed the underwriting limit of each coinsurer or reinsurer.
(3) Coinsurance or reinsurance agreements shall conform to the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) regulations in 31 CFR 223.10 and 223.11. When reinsurance is contemplated, the contracting office generally shall require reinsurance agreements to be executed and submitted with the bonds before making a final determination on the bonds.
(4) When specified in the solicitation, the contracting officer may accept a bond from the direct writing company in satisfaction of the total bond requirement of the contract. This is permissible until necessary reinsurance agreements are executed, even though the total bond requirement may exceed the insurer's underwriting limitation. The contractor shall execute and submit necessary reinsurance agreements to the contracting officer within the time specified on the bid form, which may not exceed 45 calendar days after the execution of the bond. The contractor shall use Standard Form (SF) 273, Reinsurance Agreement for a Bonds Statute Performance Bond, and SF 274, Reinsurance Agreement for a Bonds Statute Payment Bond, when reinsurance is furnished with the required performance or payment bonds. SF 275, Reinsurance Agreement in Favor of the United States, is used when reinsurance is furnished with bonds for other purposes.
(b) For contracts performed in a foreign country, sureties not appearing on Treasury Department Circular 570 are acceptable if the contracting officer determines that it is impracticable for the contractor to use Treasury listed sureties.
(c) Treasury issues supplements to Treasury Department Circular 570, notifying all Federal agencies of new approved corporate surety companies and the termination of the authority of any specific corporate surety to qualify as a surety on Federal bonds. Upon receipt of notification of termination of a company’s authority to qualify as a surety on Federal bonds, the contracting officer shall review the outstanding contracts and take action necessary to protect the Government, including, where appropriate, securing new bonds with acceptable sureties in lieu of outstanding bonds with the named company.
(d) Treasury Department Circular 570 may be obtained from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, Surety Bond Branch, 3201 Pennsy Drive, Building E, Landover, MD 20785 or at https://www.fiscal.treasury.gov/fsreports/ref/suretyBnd/c570.htm.
28.203 Individual Sureties.
28.203-1 Acceptability of individual sureties.
(a)An individual surety is acceptable for all types of bonds except position schedule bonds. Assets pledged by an individual surety shall meet the eligibility requirements of Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Per 31 U.S.C. 9310, individual sureties must pledge eligible obligations, which Treasury refers to as acceptable collateral or eligible collateral. A list of acceptable assets, entitled “Acceptable Collateral for 31 CFR part 225,” may be accessed by going to https://www.treasurydirect.gov/instit/statreg/collateral/collateral.htm and clicking on “Acceptable Collateral for 31 CFR part 225”.
(2)The net adjusted value of unencumbered assets is their market value minus the margin. The margin tables are available at www.treasurydirect.gov. The net adjusted value of unencumbered assets pledged by the individual surety must equal or exceed the penal amount (i.e., face value) of each bond.
(3)The individual surety shall execute the SF 28, Affidavit of Individual Surety, and provide a security interest. One individual surety is adequate support for a bond, provided the net adjusted value of unencumbered assets pledged by that individual surety equals or exceeds the amount of the bond.
(4)An offeror or contractor may submit up to three individual sureties for each bond, in which case the net adjusted value of the pledged unencumbered assets, when combined, must equal or exceed the penal amount of the bond. Each individual surety is jointly and severally liable to the extent of the penal amount of the bond.
(c)Using the information from the SF 28 submitted by the offeror or contractor, the contracting officer shall notify the Treasury's collateral operations support team by email at BMT@fiscal.treasury.gov or by phone at 888-568-7343, of the individual surety, the assets to be pledged, and the amount necessary to cover the individual surety bond, i.e., the required amount to be collateralized. Treasury will advise the contracting officer whether the assets are eligible to be pledged, consistent with 28.203-1(a), and of the valuation of the assets offered to be pledged, consistent with the valuation standards in 28.203-1(b)(2). If after 3 business days the contracting officer has not received a response from Treasury, the contracting officer may seek assistance from the Director, Bank Policy and Oversight, at 202-504-3502. The contracting officer shall determine whether the individual surety bond is acceptable as to the amount necessary to cover the individual surety bond based on the asset eligibility and valuation assessment from Treasury. The contracting officer shall notify both the offeror or contractor and the individual surety of this determination.
(d)If the contracting officer determines the individual surety is acceptable, the contracting officer shall request the Treasury's collateral operations support team set up the necessary individual surety pledged asset collateral account.
(e)If the contracting officer determines that no individual surety in support of a bid guarantee is acceptable, the offeror utilizing the individual surety shall be rejected as nonresponsible, except as provided in 28.101-4. A finding of nonresponsibility based on unacceptability of an individual surety, need not be referred to the Small Business Administration for a Certificate of Competency. (See 19.602-1(a) and 61 Comp. Gen. 456 (1982).)
(f)If a contractor submits an unacceptable individual surety, or one that Treasury could not assess the asset eligibility and valuation within a reasonable time, then the contracting officer may permit the contractor to substitute an acceptable surety within a reasonable time.
(g)Evidence of possible criminal or fraudulent activities by an individual surety shall be referred to the appropriate agency official in accordance with agency procedures.
28.203-2 Substitution of assets.
An individual surety may request the Government to accept a substitute asset for that currently pledged by submitting a written request, including a revised SF 28, to the responsible contracting officer. Following the requirements set forth in 28.203-1, the contracting officer may agree to the substitution of assets upon determining that the substitute assets to be pledged are adequate to protect the outstanding bond or guarantee obligations.
28.203-3 Release of security interest.
(a)After consultation with legal counsel, the contracting officer shall release the security interest on the individual surety's assets using the Optional Form 91, Release of Personal Property from Escrow, or a similar release as soon as possible consistent with the conditions in subparagraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section. A surety's assets pledged in support of a payment bond may be released to a subcontractor or supplier upon Government receipt of a Federal district court judgment, or a sworn statement by the subcontractor or supplier that the claim is correct along with a notarized authorization of the release by the surety stating that it approves of such release.
(i)1 year following final payment;
(ii)Until completion of any warranty period (applicable only to performance bonds); or
(iii)Pending resolution of all claims filed against the payment bond during the 1 year period following final payment.
(2) Contracts subject to alternative payment protection. See section 28.102-1, paragraph (b)(1). The security interest shall be maintained for the full contract performance period plus 1 year.
(3) Other contracts not subject to the Bonds statute. The security interest shall be maintained for 90 days following final payment or until completion of any warranty period (applicable only to performance bonds), whichever is later.
(b)Upon written request by the individual surety, the contracting officer may release the security interest on the individual surety's assets in support of a bid guarantee based upon evidence that the offer supported by the individual surety will not result in contract award.
(c)Upon written request by the individual surety, the contracting officer may release a portion of the security interest on the individual surety's assets based upon substantial performance of the contractor's obligations under its performance bond. Release of the security interest in support of a payment bond must comply with the subparagraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section. In making this determination, the contracting officer will give consideration as to whether the unreleased portion of the security is sufficient to cover the remaining contract obligations, including payments to subcontractors and other potential liabilities. The individual surety shall, as a condition of the partial release, furnish an affidavit agreeing that the release of such assets does not relieve the individual surety of its obligations under the bond(s).
28.203-4 Solicitation provision and contract clause.
(a)Insert the provision at 52.228-17, Individual Surety—Pledge of Assets (Bid Guarantee), in solicitations that require the submission of a bid guarantee.
(b)Insert the clause at 52.228-11, Individual Surety—Pledge of Assets, in solicitations and contracts that require the submission of performance or payment bonds.
28.203-5 Exclusion of individual sureties.
(a)An individual may be excluded from acting as a surety on bonds submitted by offerors on procurement by the executive branch of the Federal Government, by the acquiring agency's head or designee utilizing the procedures in subpart 9.4. The exclusion shall be for the purpose of protecting the Government.
(b)An individual may be excluded for any of the following causes:
(1)Failure to fulfill the obligations under any bond.
(2)Failure to disclose all bond obligations.
(3)Misrepresentation of the value of available assets or outstanding liabilities.
(4)Any false or misleading statement, signature or representation on a bond or affidavit of individual suretyship.
(5)Any other cause affecting responsibility as a surety of such serious and compelling nature as may be determined to warrant exclusion.
(c)An individual surety excluded pursuant to this section shall be entered as an exclusion in the System for Award Management (see 9.404).
(d)Contracting officers shall not accept the bonds of individual sureties whose names appear in an active exclusion record in the System for Award Management (see 9.404) unless the acquiring agency's head or a designee states in writing the compelling reasons justifying acceptance.
(e)An exclusion of an individual surety under this section will also preclude such party from acting as a contractor in accordance with subpart 9.4.
28.204 Alternatives in lieu of corporate or individual sureties.
(a) Any person required to furnish a bond to the Government may furnish any of the types of security listed in 28.204-1 through 28.204-3 instead of a corporate or individual surety for the bond. When any of those types of security are deposited, a statement shall be incorporated in the bond form pledging the security in lieu of execution of the bond form by corporate or individual sureties. The contractor shall execute the bond forms as the principal. Agencies shall establish safeguards to protect against loss of the security and shall return the security or its equivalent to the contractor when the bond obligation has ceased.
(b) Upon written request by any contractor securing a performance or payment bond by any of the types of security listed in 28.204-1 through 28.204-3, the contracting officer may release a portion of the security only when the conditions allowing the partial release of security in 28.203-3(c) are met. The contractor shall, as a condition of the partial release, furnish an affidavit agreeing that the release of such security does not relieve the contractor of its obligations under the bond(s).
(c) The contractor may satisfy a requirement for bond security by furnishing a combination of the types of security listed in 28.204-1 through 28.204-3 or a combination of bonds supported by these types of security and additional surety bonds under 28.202 or 28.203. During the period for which a bond supported by security is required, the contractor may substitute one type of security listed in 28.204-1 through 28.204-3 for another, or may substitute, in whole or combination, additional surety bonds under 28.202 or 28.203.
28.204-1 United States bonds or notes.
Any person required to furnish a bond to the Government has the option, instead of furnishing a surety or sureties on the bond, of depositing certain United States bonds or notes in an amount equal at their par value to the penal sum of the bond (the Act of February 24,1919 ( 31 U.S.C.9303) and Treasury Department Circular No.154 (31 CFR Part 225)). In addition, a duly executed power of attorney and agreement authorizing the collection or sale of such United States bonds or notes in the event of default of the principal on the bond shall accompany the deposited bonds or notes. The contracting officer may-
(a) Turn securities over to the finance or other authorized agency official; or
(b) Deposit them with the Treasurer of the United States, a Federal Reserve Bank (or branch with requisite facilities), or other depository designated for that purpose by the Secretary of the Treasury, under procedures prescribed by the agency concerned and Treasury Department CircularNo.154 (exception: The contracting officer shall deposit all bonds and notes received in the District of Columbia with the Treasurer of the United States).
28.204-2 Certified or cashier’s checks, bank drafts, money orders, or currency.
Any person required to furnish a bond has an option to furnish a certified or cashier’s check, bank draft, Post Office money order, or currency, in an amount equal to the penal sum of the bond, instead of furnishing surety or sureties on the bonds. Those furnishing checks, drafts, or money orders shall draw them to the order of the appropriate Federal agency.
28.204-3 Irrevocable letter of credit.
(a) Any person required to furnish a bond has the option to furnish a bond secured by an irrevocable letter of credit (ILC) in an amount equal to the penal sum required to be secured (see 28.204). A separate ILC is required for each bond.
(b) The ILC shall be irrevocable, require presentation of no document other than a written demand and the ILC (and letter of confirmation, if any), expire only as provided in paragraph (f) of this subsection, and be issued/confirmed by an acceptable federally insured financial institution as provided in paragraph (g) of this subsection.
(c) To draw on the ILC, the contracting officer shall use the sight draft set forth in the clause at 52.228-14, and present it with the ILC (including letter of confirmation, if any) to the issuing financial institution or the confirming financial institution (if any).
(d) If the contractor does not furnish an acceptable replacement ILC, or other acceptable substitute, at least 30 days before an ILC’s scheduled expiration, the contracting officer shall immediately draw on the ILC.
(e) If, after the period of performance of a contract where ILCs are used to support payment bonds, there are outstanding claims against the payment bond, the contracting officer shall draw on the ILC prior to the expiration date of the ILC to cover these claims.
(f) The period for which financial security is required shall be as follows:
(1) If used as a bid guarantee, the ILC should expire no earlier than 60 days after the close of the bid acceptance period.
(2) If used as an alternative to corporate or individual sureties as security for a performance or payment bond, the offeror/contractor may submit an ILC with an initial expiration date estimated to cover the entire period for which financial security is required or an ILC with an initial expiration date that is a minimum period of oneyear from the date of issuance. The ILC shall provide that, unless the issuer provides the beneficiary written notice of non-renewal at least 60 days in advance of the current expiration date, the ILC is automatically extended without amendment for oneyear from the expiration date, or any future expiration date, until the period of required coverage is completed and the contracting officer provides the financial institution with a written statement waiving the right to payment. The period of required coverage shall be:
(i) For contracts subject to the Bonds statute, the later of-
(A) Oneyear following the expected date of final payment;
(B) For performance bonds only, until completion of any warranty period; or
(C) For payment bonds only, until resolution of all claims filed against the payment bond during the one-year period following final payment.
(ii) For contracts not subject to the Bonds statute, the later of-
(A) 90 days following final payment; or
(B) For performance bonds only, until completion of any warranty period.
(g) Only federally insured financial institutions rated investment grade shall issue or confirm the ILC. Unless the financial institution issuing the ILC had letter of credit business of at least $25 million in the past year, ILCs over $5 million must be confirmed by another acceptable financial institution that had letter of credit business of at least $25 million in the past year.
(1) The offeror/contractor is required by paragraph (d) of the clause at 52.228-14. Irrevocable Letter of Credit, to provide the contracting officer a credit rating from a recognized commercial rating service that indicates the financial institution has the required rating(s) as of the date of issuance of the ILC.
(2) To support the credit rating of the financial institution(s) issuing or confirming the ILC, the contracting officer shall verify the following information:
(i) Federal insurance: Each financial institution is federally insured. Verification of federal insurance is available through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) institution directory at the website http://www2.fdic.gov/idasp/index.asp.
(ii) Current credit rating. The current credit rating for each financial institution is investment grade and that the credit rating is from a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO). NRSROs can be located at the website http://www.sec.gov/answers/nrsro.htm maintained by the SEC.
(3) The rating services listed in the website http://www.sec.gov/answers/nrsro.htm use different rating scales (e.g., AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, B, CCC, CC, C, and D; or Aaa, Aa, A, Baa, Ba, B, Caa, Ca, and C) to provide evaluations of institutional credit risk; however, all such systems specify the range of investment grade ratings (e.g., BBB-AAA or Baa-Aaa in the examples in this section) and permit evaluation of the relative risk associated with a specific institution. If the contracting officer learns that a financial institution's rating has dropped below investment grade level, the contracting officer shall give the contractor 30 days to substitute an acceptable ILC or shall draw on the ILC using the sight draft in paragraph (g) of the clause at 52.228-14.
(h) A copy of the Uniform Customs and Practice (UCP) for Documentary Credits, 2007 Edition, International Chamber of Commerce Publication No. 600, is available from:
ICC Books USA, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, 21 st Floor, New York, NY 10036;
28.204-4 Contract clause.
Insert the clause at 52.228-14, Irrevocable Letter of Credit, in solicitations and contracts for services, supplies, or construction, when a bid guarantee, or performance bonds, or performance and payment bonds are required.