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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Franklins Make a Limited Splash

No signs of panic were apparent Tuesday as the new U.S. $100 bill rolled into Russia. In fact, at banks and exchange points in central Moscow, there were hardly any signs of the new notes at all.


"They will come whenever they come," said a cashier at the VIP branch of the Stolichny Savings Bank in the Metropol Hotel, expecting deliveries Wednesday or Thursday. Visits to 10 other currency exchanges also turned up no new bills.


The first of the new anti-counterfeiting notes arrived in Moscow under heavy security Monday night, the same day they went into circulation in the United States. Bankers contacted Tuesday said the introduction of the bill was going smoothly.


"We receive the first party today, and start working with the new bills right away," Alexei Grigoriyev, chairman of the board of Stolichny, said in an interview, adding that he had seen no unusual demand for the notes.


Sergei Shuvayev, director of the department of cash operations with Most Bank, said five Most branches stocked the new note Tuesday morning, but it was unclear whether they had actually started paying them out to clients before closing at 2.30 p.m.


Russian savers, who in the past have stampeded banks when Soviet rubles were phased out on short notice, seemed unconcerned about the U.S. currency changeover.


"I take what I can get," said Larisa, a client at Negotsiantbank on Ulitsa Rozhdestvenka, who only gave her first name.


Sergei Dubinin, chairman of the Central Bank, added his weight to the chorus of official assurances in recent weeks, calling on Russians not to rush to exchange the estimated $12 billion to $16 billion they hold in $100 bills.


"From an economic point of view it is the most senseless operation," Dubinin told a press conference. "There is neither an economic, nor an organizational, nor any other need to exchange them," he said, noting that the old bills will remain legal tender indefinitely.


Currently commercial banks can import up to $100 million daily to meet demand for the new notes, Dubinin said. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing has printed more than $85 billion worth of the new currency, according to the U.S. Treasury Information Center in Moscow.


While customers at Moscow banks are likely to get their hands on the new bills soon it may take weeks, and in some cases months, before most banks and exchange points in Moscow, and in particular, the provinces receive the new high-tech note."We have been told that we will get the new dollars on April 1," said


a cashier at the Sberbank branch on Pyatnitskaya Ulitsa 54 in central Moscow.


"Many people enquire about the new notes," said the cashier, who declined to identify herself. "But they are just curious what it looks like."