Why would an Iraqi bank have $1 billion in cash on hand?

Apparently, one of Saddam’s sons needed some pocket change before the bombing started, so he made a $1 Billion Dollar Withdrawel

It took three trucks to haul it all away.

Why would a bank have this much cash on hand? I’m assuming that even Iraqi banks work much the same as other banks do. You don’t make any interest on truckloads of cash. That much money, sitting in a bank vault, is just so much waste paper.

Why would they have a billion just hanging around?

It’s the Central Bank, not an Iraqi Bank. Think the Federal Reserve.

The thing that strikes me as odd is that it was all in foreign currency. 900 million is USD and 100 million is Euro. Why would they have all that American money in their central bank?

Do Federal Reserve banks typically have the odd billion in cash?

blueapple, because iraqi money is worth roughly… paper…

american money actually can buy you things, and be used outside of the country

In situation like that? Doesn’t sound so odd.

And in countries like Iraq, under embargo and not the friendliest of regimes, tend to need US dollars or Euros on hand to buy fun things like missles and bullets and the like. Not every arms dealer is willing to trade straight up for barrels of crude oil.

I don’t think it’s all that strange. Every central bank is having some reserves in foreign money. And if you’re an embargoed rogue nation[sup]TM[/sup], you better have it at home in cash than on foreign accounts where it can be confisctaed or frozen.

For obvious reasons, the Fed keeps exact numbers and locations secret, but they have huge vaults stacked to the rafters with cash. Picture a Costco-sized building, but with cash instead of paper towels. One of the Discovery channels recently ran a show on making money, and they showed one of these vaults with robotic forklifts scurrying around loading pallets of cash.

At any given moment, there’s around a half-trillion dollars in cash in the US.

In November, 2001, the aggregate required cash reserves on deposit at the Fed totalled $39.1 billion. This is the money banks must keep with the Fed - around 3% of their total deposits.

So no, the Fed doesn’t have the odd billion. It has tens of billions in cash. :cool:

I once toured the Minneapolis Federal Reserve with a group from work (a bank).

We were standing watching thru a wire mesh wall while a machine sorted, counted & bundled bills, and kicked out over-worn ones that were to be destroyed. On a small table up against the wire mesh wall, right there in front of us, they had stacks of the bundles of bills. This table was about the size of my desk, and the stacks didn’t look much higher than the stacks of paper on my desk. But one of the group did a quick calculation, and pointed out that there was $17 million sitting on that table! We all sort of gasped, and then stuck our fingers thru the mesh to actually touch that fortune stacked there. And someone pointed out that that was probably more than the lifetime earnings of all of us put together!

So they certainly do have wads of cash at the Federal Reserves. And really, really tough security to go with it!


Seems to me any dictator that can import atomic power plant stuff and plutonium can also import the latest printing equipment and faux paper stock. A 20 million invested yields a billion in snide.