London Bank Stocking Up on Cash

Y2K fears of money shortage on New Year's Eve has the Bank of England stashing cash

Taking the lead from many World Banks, The Bank Of England will double the amount of money it has on hand for the New Year's Eve holiday. Extra stocks and bonds are already being put aside in case of last-minute panic cash withdrawals. Banks will also open longer for last minute shoppers.

The Bank of England will have 50 million pounds ($80 million US ) of banknotes available by the millennium holiday, that’s double the current 25 million pounds currently in circulation, according to London’s Independent newspaper. The bank has been able to put aside the cash by holding back old notes that normally would have been incinerated and by accelerating printing of pounds 10 and pounds 20 notes.

Last year the demand over the Christmas and New Years holiday hit 30 million pounds. With 50 million pounds this year, bank executives feel they will have enough cash on hand to cover everyone’s needs.

A worry of widespread computer shutdowns because of the millennium bug has receded, but the bank wants to be ready for anything. The main reason authorities are saving up the cash is for Christmas shoppers and New Year's Eve party goers who will wanting the money during the holiday when the bank is closed.

Banks will extend their hours over the holiday to make sure cash is available. The Bank of London has worked out special arrangements for a number of bank branches in main shopping streets or shopping centers to be open longer so customers will be able to get access to their cash.

It’s the season to shop and party and spend money. Bank executives understand that people will be wanting their cash and using extra money, but they also want to warn people against carrying too much cash and making themselves vulnerable to muggings and theft.

DATE: 10/20/99

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