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#94526 - 07/07/03 12:31 PM Abbreviation for One Thousand
Cowboys Fan Offline
Power Poster

Registered: 12/17/02
Posts: 4477
Loc: SC
We're having a discussion about using M vs. K to indicate thousand. Does anyone know the origin and the proper usage?

Thanks
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#94527 - 07/07/03 12:35 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
IUalum Offline
Platinum Poster

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 926
Loc: Kentucky
Well, in the old school, M was always used. (Roman numeral for 1000.) Somewhere down the line, it changed to K (for kilo) around the early '90's. Now the M is usually used to designate "million." I don't think it matters much which you use, I'd just be sure everyone is doing things consistently throughout your organization.
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#94528 - 07/07/03 12:36 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
Richard Insley Online
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Registered: 10/26/00
Posts: 7607
Loc: Richmond, VA
"M" is the Roman numeral designating 1,000 and can be used as readily as any other Roman numerals.
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#94529 - 07/07/03 12:41 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
DeeQ Offline
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Registered: 12/04/02
Posts: 40585
Loc: I don't know!
M is the Roman numeral for 1000. I think the "K" signifies 1000 in the metric system. Maybe herein lies the confusion.
OK, brighter bulbs, please step forward...
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#94530 - 07/07/03 12:50 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
Richard Insley Online
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Registered: 10/26/00
Posts: 7607
Loc: Richmond, VA
Since there can be reasonable differences of interpretation about the meaning of these symbols, you should either avoid them or provide a footnote such as " 'K' represents 1,000."
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#94531 - 07/07/03 12:50 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
Cowboys Fan Offline
Power Poster

Registered: 12/17/02
Posts: 4477
Loc: SC
I read an article that differentiated when you should use M and when you should use K. There were very specific reasons that made total sense to me (at the time) but now I can't remember what they are
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#94532 - 07/07/03 01:02 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
111 Offline
Gold Star

Registered: 06/23/03
Posts: 484
"K"
An informal abbreviation for one thousand used in expressions where the unit is understood, such as "10K run" (10 kilometers) or "700K disk" (700 kilobytes or kibibytes).

"M" [1]
Informal abbreviation for million in expressions where the base unit is understood, as in "500M hard drive" (500 megabytes or mebibytes).

M [2]
The Roman numeral 1000, sometimes used in symbols to indicate a thousand, as in Mcf, a traditional symbol for 1000 cubic feet. Given the widespread use of M to mean one million, this older use of M to mean 1000 is very confusing and should be scrapped.


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#94533 - 07/07/03 01:08 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
Cowboys Fan Offline
Power Poster

Registered: 12/17/02
Posts: 4477
Loc: SC
Thanks everyone.
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#94534 - 07/07/03 01:33 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
LiL Bit Moore Offline
Platinum Poster

Registered: 11/14/02
Posts: 624
Loc: Texas
K as used in your example is commonly used regarding denominations as an abbreviation for kilo which represents the 1,000 multiple of a unit. Therefore it would not be incorrect to abbreviate $2,000 by using 2k which means 2 x 1,000.

M is the roman numeral for 1,000. Roman numerals do not go beyond 1,000. To extrapolate to millions, a bar is commonly placed over the M indicating multiply by 1,000. Therefore, 2M could be used to represent 2,000 or 2M with a bar over the M could be used to represent 2 million.

Either one can be used to represent 1,000, just stay consistent.
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#94535 - 07/07/03 01:44 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
HRH Dawnie Offline
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Registered: 08/12/02
Posts: 7353
Loc: Anchorage Alaska
The standard at BofA was M for 1,000 and MM for 1,000,000. (where I was trained as a lender) I've seen this at three financial institutions in the commercial and small business loan areas as well as private banking.

K's are typically used by newer lenders (in my experience) in branch banking, but most commercial staff still use M or MM. I can't say I've seen anyone use M for million in my experience, but now that you've mentioned it, I'll probably have some chowder head break the mold and use it here to confuse my reviews of the files

I've always used M or MM which was taught to me in commercial lending school about 1MM years ago.
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#94536 - 07/07/03 02:16 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
Kathleen B Online

10K Club

Registered: 12/27/00
Posts: 17718
I agree Dawn. The standard in most banking circles is M and MM particularly in commercial lending. However, most newspapers use K. I hope they understand the M and MM if they are getting info in that format from a bank and writing a story!
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#94537 - 07/07/03 02:31 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
WildTurkey Offline
Platinum Poster

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 921
Loc: Down South, USA
Quote:

I agree Dawn. The standard in most banking circles is M and MM particularly in commercial lending. However, most newspapers use K. I hope they understand the M and MM if they are getting info in that format from a bank and writing a story!



I am used to that being the norm among "old school" bankers, but most young people entering banking these days are used to using "K" for "thousands", which I think is clear enough as I am not aware of any other interpretation.

When referring to a number of millions I generally now use "Mil" (not "M"), so as to avoid confusion between old and new uses of "M".
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#94538 - 07/07/03 02:39 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
LiL Bit Moore Offline
Platinum Poster

Registered: 11/14/02
Posts: 624
Loc: Texas
I don't think there is a "defined" difference of when to use which term, only as T has implied, "where the base unit is understood". I have seen MM used to abbreviate millions which is based on Roman numerals using an algebra computation, such as $2,000,000 is $2MM (2 x 1000 x 1000). Getting technical, proper representation using roman numerals would be simply MM with a bar over it. But in the financial industry it is commonly understood that M represent 1,000 and MM represents 1,000,000.

However, in other industries such as the "tech world" M is commonly used and understood to represent 1,000,000. M in the metric system stands for Mega (1,000,000). So 1M, based on the metric system w/b $1,000,000.

So, both K and M can be proper. Usage depends on whether you are thinking "roman numeral" or "metric". The key as previously posted is to be consistent and provide a footnote as to the base unit. If you use K for 1000, then M s/b 1,000,000. If you use M for 1,000 then MM could represent 1,000,000, but properly M with a bar over it.
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#94539 - 07/07/03 04:13 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
Andy Z Online

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Registered: 10/27/00
Posts: 25263
Loc: On the Net
I always thought that "M" and "K" were interchangeable for 1,000 (for reasons stated above) and blamed the lazy press for making "M" mean Million when they wrote headlines.

(And "K" in computer terms is more accurately 1,024, if you were interested.)
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#94540 - 07/07/03 04:39 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
NotALawyer Offline
Gold Star

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 448
M - thousand
MM - million

or

K - thousand
M - million
B - billion

Take yer pick...


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#94541 - 07/07/03 05:24 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
LiL Bit Moore Offline
Platinum Poster

Registered: 11/14/02
Posts: 624
Loc: Texas
Actually, 1 billion using the metric system would be "G". I use it all the time balancing my savings account! But B works for me too, 'cause you may need G for Gazillion Trillion!

And that brings up another 1,000 abbreviation - "Hey Lefty, boss says a thousand g's if you snuff him out tonight"

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#94542 - 07/07/03 06:07 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
Dolly Nugent Offline
Diamond Poster

Registered: 11/02/00
Posts: 1808
Loc: Southern California
This was a great thread! I have had problems with inexperienced Note Department associates reading the abbreviations wrong (not their fault as our officers are not consistent in the usage) resulting in the wrong CRA revenue code being applied. We discovered this during an integrity check a few years ago and it resulted in a whole bunch of work. Be careful!
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#94543 - 07/07/03 07:02 PM Re: Abbreviation for One Thousand
CarlD Offline
100 Club

Registered: 04/19/02
Posts: 215
I once coined the word "trimagna" to explain the tendency of policitians and economists to put money on a logarithmic scale, something like the Richter scale.

Their counting sequence goes "million, billion, trillion", emphasizing every third order of magnitude.
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