Where Is My New Benjamin?

Posted on 10/22/2013

Have you been to the bank to get your newly designed $100 note? Have you received one in change? Read how one of PMG's own attempted to get his hands on one.

Last night I was wondering: how many times have the tellers at my local bank heard the question “got any of those new hundreds?” Well, at least once, from me. Of course, I came out of the bank empty handed, dejected and puzzled. I really wanted a new Benjamin, even just to spend somewhere and get a smile from the shopkeeper. Why didn’t my bank have one? How long must I endure these bank visits only to ask the same smiling teller the same question and leave in the same dejected manner?

I knew I didn’t want to drive to the nearest Federal Reserve Bank branch in Miami, and I knew that I didn’t want to wait for one to reach to me in the most natural of circumstances: via regular circulation (that would take too long). I wanted to drive five minutes to the bank, ask and receive, ASAP. So, when can I get one? I mean the $100 bill is the second most common US note in circulation behind the $1; seriously, this can’t take that long.

I wanted to know, so I started to do a little digging. First thing to investigate: will the partial government shutdown have an effect on the release of the new $100s? No, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Moving on from there. Evidently, the old $100 bills won’t be removed from circulation for some time to come, this I expected. It will be a sort of “natural exodus” from circulation for the old design, and the new $100s will slowly replace them. Only when a bank needs new $100 notes will the fancy Benjamins be issued. The good news is that the Federal Reserve has got about $3.5 billion worth of these things ready to go into circulation. I’m thinking there’s plenty to go around. Oh wait, that $3.5 billion is for both domestic…and international circulation. (This isn’t looking good for my plan already.)

Ok, so first my financial institution needs to run out of the old $100s, too bad I’m with one of those big banks; they probably have plenty! So, this means my little branch down the street has to run out of the old design first, request more $100s from the big branch in Tampa which also has to run out of old $100s before my branch will see any fancy new $100s. Then, finally, the Tampa branch can request more $100s from the Miami Federal Reserve branch (which will have the new design). So it boils down to this: please, if you live in South Florida, don’t deposit any old $100 bills.

I was feeling happy with my research progress, but I still had no timetable. So I went to the guys who might be able to give me one. “Distance, demand, and the policies of individual financial institutions will influence how quickly the redesigned notes reach businesses and consumers around the world.” This bland, unenlightened quote is the only official answer I could get from the Fed, and it didn’t instill any hope in me.

I guess the answer to my question is that there is no answer; there are too many variables to try and establish a timetable of when I’ll have that new inkwell in between my fingers. All I can do is continue to visit my teller and ask the same question: “Got any of those new hundreds?” But hey, there is a silver lining to all of this: every bank visit gets me a piece of candy.

If you have any stories about getting the new Benjamin - good or bad, PMG would love to read about it. Please post on the Chat Boards; good luck and happy hunting!

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