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Wednesday, October 13, 1999 Published at 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK

Business: The Economy

Banks 'ready for millennium'

Cash machines should not run dry for the millennium

High street banks and the Bank of England say they are confident that they will cope with unprecedented demand for cash and potential Y2K bug problems during the millennium holiday.

The banks say measures have been put in place to ensure cash machines do not dry up, that wages and direct debits are paid and that businesses will be able to carry out transactions over the extended holiday.

[ image: Banks say they've squashed the Y2K bug]
Banks say they've squashed the Y2K bug
Extra money has been printed, bank and security staff are putting in extra hours and special loan schemes for businesses have been put in place, says the Association for Payments and Clearing Services (Apacs).

Richard Tyson-Davies, of Apacs, told the BBC high street banks were expecting record levels of withdrawals over the holiday.

He said: "There are about 10 days' holiday for most people and a lot of them are going to draw out cash before that holiday starts.

"We are expecting levels of demand beyond anything we have seen before, but there is plenty of money around.

"There will be far more filling of cash machines than there normally is over the holiday period because we are very sensitive that people will look at the cash machines and want to know money is there."

He said that the recently introduced, new design £20 notes had been brought in without any of the old ones being withdrawn, and that extra notes had been printed on top of that.

Working wages

Banks have also been testing the systems that ensure salaries are paid into account, and things like direct debit are paid out, to ensure they are not affected by the millennium bug.

Mr Tyson-Davies said: "The payment systems we oversee have all been tested and worked very well."

The Bank of England is also offering special services to City institutions to ensure they do not run out of cash over the holiday.

The Bank is offering short term loans to its customers to ensure they have enough ready cash to trade over the period.

Mr Tyson-Davies said: "These measures from the Bank will ensure there is the liquidity, the cash, to enable people to trade - it will tide them over the millennium period."

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