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Statistics, Facts & Such

Benjamin Franklin, when creating bank notes for the state of Pennsylvania, deliberately misspelled "Pensylvania" to deter counterfeiting. It didn't work.

"Greenbacks", as national currency was first nicknamed, were first issued by the United States Government at President Lincoln's orders, in 1861. By 1863, just two years later, over half of the "greenbacks" in existence were counterfeit. And there were no color copiers then!

The U.S. Treasury says there is $150 billion in U.S. cash now in circulation in the world. It consists of 12 billion pieces of currency. That would figure to $30 in cash for every person on earth.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York shreds one third of all the cash it counts and sorts each day for reprocessing.

There were almost 87,000 PCs installed in banking offices in the United States in 1992, reports Mentis Corp. of Eden, MD, a firm specializing in bank technology research.

An additional 35,000 terminals were installed at workstations in banking offices in 1992. These rely on mainframes or minicomputers.

Fed estimates financial institutions spent 206,000 hours gearing up for Reg DD and will "spend" 1.9 million hours per year afterward.

Regulators estimate that over 96% of the country's largest financial institutions already comply with the "new" requirement of outside annual audits.

Discover Card's merchant base is 1.7 million merchants that handle their cards. MasterCard and Visa each have 10.5 million merchants. Discover charges merchants about 1% of every transaction. Financial institutions charge an average of around 2%. American Express charges 3% or more.

Copyright © 1993 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 4, No. 2, 7/93

First published on 07/01/1993

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