The Bank of Canada has almost quadrupled its cash reserves : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Bank boosts cash supply for Y2K

$23 billion will be available in case of customer panic

Dave Mullington

The Ottawa Citizen

The Bank of Canada has almost quadrupled its cash reserves as a contingency against Y2K problems and the money has been disbursed across the country, a consultant with the bank says.

Bill Cook, the bank's consultant for currency education, said the government bank usually has about $6 billion available for commercial banks and other financial institutions, but this figure will rise to $23 billion in time for the Christmas-New Year period.

He emphasized that the bank was not expecting any problems, but the money was being made available as a safety measure.

"The governor (of the Bank of Canada) ... is quite confident that the Canadian financial system is ready and that we've taken all the necessary steps to minimize the problem," he said.

So far, no institution has asked for extra cash.

He said the $23 billion is comprised of newly printed bills, regular bills in circulation and older, worn-out banknotes that normally would have been destroyed.

He added that printing the new bills would not affect the value of the dollar.

"Basically we're the sole issuer of banknotes and until they're actually withdrawn and put into circulation, they're just inventory."

Meanwhile, banking industry officials said customers can be assured there will be enough money in their branches and automatic banking machines (ABMs) during the millennial rollover.

But the banks were reluctant to say how much money they would have on hand over the holiday period.

Denny Allen, a spokeswoman for the Bank of Montreal, refused to say how much money would be available in the Ottawa area's 24 bank branches and 78 ABMs, for security reasons.

(In Canada the machines are called ABMs, in the United States they're ATMs, for automatic teller machines.)

"The Bank of Canada has more money in circulation and if we need it, the issue is we'll be able to stock the machines as needed," Ms. Allen said.

She said the concern of banks is not a potential Y2K error, but rather the "echo effect" where people panic because they're worried about Y2K and take their money out.

"So far we haven't seen any indications that Canadians are freaking out about this issue," she added.

"Christmas and New Year's is always a high volume time for us, so we're operating on that principle, but we know we have the assurance of the Bank of Canada that if we need the money we can get it."

Sharon Wilks, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Bankers Association, said Canadian banks regularly monitor their branches and ABMs and ensure they are resupplied with cash as needed.

-- (, December 09, 1999

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