Contact: Julia Vail (919) 807-3132

March 7, 2013


Cowell Announces New Deputy Treasurer for Unclaimed Property

Brenda Williams, Department’s Financial Literacy Director, to lead Unclaimed Property Division

RALEIGH, NC – State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced today that Brenda Williams, the Department’s Financial Literacy Director, has accepted the position of Deputy Treasurer of the Department’s Unclaimed Property Division.

Since joining the Department as Financial Literacy Director in January 2011, Williams has coordinated the Department’s efforts to provide financial education to citizens of all ages throughout the state. Last year, she partnered with N.C. Community Colleges, the State Education Assistance Authority and the College Foundation to develop an online tool to help community college students avoid unmanageable debt. Currently more than 22,000 students at 25 community college campuses have used the tool to help them determine the amount of student loans they can reasonably expect to pay back after graduation.

“As Financial Literacy Director, Ms. Williams exceled at building relationships with nonprofits, government agencies and private industry to provide resources to help North Carolinians make informed financial decisions,” Cowell said. “She will continue to leverage and build on these partnerships as she works to return unclaimed money to its rightful owners.”

Prior to joining the Department, Williams led the Family Financial Literacy Coalition (FFLC), a program of Charlotte nonprofit Community Link. Under her leadership, the FFLC provided free tax preparation services and financial education to more than 6,000 low- to moderate-income households throughout Mecklenburg and surrounding counties each year.

Williams served in the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years and has done considerable advocacy work on behalf of the community’s most vulnerable citizens. She currently serves on the N.C. Financial Literacy Council, the Attorney General’s Task Force for Prevention of Fraud against Seniors, and the Board of Directors for the N.C. Council on Economic Education.

Williams will replace Shirley Fowler, who retired as the Division’s Executive Administrator on March 1.

“I am appreciative of Ms. Fowler’s hard work with the Unclaimed Property team last year to streamline processes, improve customer service and increase outreach events across the state,” Cowell said. “I feel confident that Ms. Williams will be a valuable addition to the team and help them continue this forward momentum.”


The Unclaimed Property Division of the N.C. Department of State Treasurer returned more than $50 million in unclaimed cash in 2012. Unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, stocks, bonds and other property types that have been abandoned due to a loss of communication or oversight. North Carolinians can search for unclaimed property at​.

Download a photo of Brenda Williams​