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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 12:55 GMT
New Northern Bank notes unveiled
The new look 20 which will be in circulation from next week
The Northern Bank is to begin replacing its bank notes from Monday in response to the theft of 26m from its Belfast headquarters last December.

All 10, 20, 50 and 100 notes are being replaced with notes with a new logo and different colour. Serial numbers are also being changed.

More than 240m in old notes is being taken out of circulation following the 20 December raid, blamed on the IRA.

It took eight weeks to create the new notes which were unveiled on Wednesday.

Rosamond Bennett, head of marketing and communications at the bank, said it was the first time in banking history such a task had been undertaken.

"We feel it is the right thing to do, we understand there has been some uncertainty and confusion about notes - people want to know the notes they hold are not stolen," she said.

"Issuing new notes will ensure the stolen notes are not used."

Key changes

Instead of a complete redesign, four key changes have been made to each of the notes in question.

  • On all notes, the Northern logo in capital letters has been changed to Northern in italics, and various issue dates replaced with 19 January 2005.

  • The 10 note figurehead colour has been changed from brown to green and serial numbers will begin with a G instead of B.

  • 20 notes have been changed from purple to blue and serial number prefix to H from C.

  • New 50 notes are purple instead of green, with a serial number beginning with J instead of D.

  • The 100 note becomes red instead of black and white and the serial number starts with a K instead of an E.

  • Some 10 notes have been issued with the new typeface since the middle of January - but in the old colours. They too are being withdrawn and replaced.

    Millions were taken from the vaults of the Northern Bank last December
    Millions were taken from the vaults of the Northern Bank last December

    Customers unsure about the changes are being advised to look at the logo, and if the Northern logo is italics the note cannot have been stolen.

    The new notes will start to be issued through ATMs on Saturday and through all bank branches on Monday. The initial replacement stage will take four weeks.

    Ms Bennett said if people had a stash of Northern notes and wanted to change them there was no need to panic.

    "There is no need to rush, they can go to any bank over the four weeks to 8 April and even after then the old notes will be honoured at Northern bank branches."

    To stop efforts to swap large amounts of stolen notes, and to comply with money laundering legislation, rules have been put in place.

    Up to 500 will be exchanged over the counter - though bank staff will be on the alert for stolen notes.

    Amounts of between 500 and 1,000 can also be exchanged over the counter but only on production of photographic identification.

    More than 1,000 will need to be lodged in a bank or building society account, or an account opened to take it.

    The Irish government is convinced that some of the money stolen in the raid was among more than 2m in cash seized during raids in the Republic of Ireland last month.

    However, Irish police have yet to confirm that through a check on serial numbers.

    The only definite cash link to the raid is 50,000 which was discovered in the grounds of a police sports club in south Belfast.

    Gang in '20m' bank raid
    21 Dec 04 |  Northern Ireland
    PMs discuss NI political process
    03 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland
    Sinn Fein facing raid sanctions
    22 Feb 05 |  Northern Ireland
    Money 'linked to Northern raid'
    01 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland

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