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Photocopying or Logging Bait Money

Question: We have been photocopying bait money for record keeping purposes for many years at my old small bank. Through mergers I am now the security officer of a much larger bank. I'm getting some flack from some of my 'new' managers about my policy of photocopying the bait money - they'd rather keep logs with the numbers in them. They say it's too much trouble to photocopy. I've talked to the FBI Robbery Coordinators in my area, and they support photocopying " matter what size." (I know the photocopies have to be either larger or smaller.) Can you tell me which is recommended by security officers - photocopying or log books?

Answer: There may be a couple of reasons your managers don't like to photocopy. Maybe their copy machines won't reduce or enlarge - and never mind the FBI - size matters! (Although I've been in this business going on 40 years and I've never heard of the Secret Service giving a bank trouble because of the size of the copies of their bait money - the fact remains, it is a law not to copy true size.) Or it may be that if they have too much bait money, it's easier to record sequentially numbered bills in a log (e.g. C24951165H through and including C24951265H) than it is to make copies of 100 pieces of currency. If there are fewer bills in the bait money, it's not nearly as big a job to make copies. I'd suggest using fewer bills. The Bank Protection Act and the resulting regulations only suggest that we maintain bait money - it is not a requirement. Nor does it suggest how much you should maintain. In this case, the less, the better. It doesn't take 100 bills to prove the money came from the drawer. It only takes one. If you've ever been a teller and had to deal with being sure you don't give out the bait money - and every now and then doing so anyway. Then you have to record all over's really annoying!

In my experience, the "standard of the industry" has been evolving to less and less bait money - and in most cases, it is photocopied. There can be no error that way.

Copyright © 2005 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 15, No. 9, 9/05

First published on 09/01/2005

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