Chinese banks have fought back against rumours that they have run out of cash by posting banknotes in their windows. Several banks in the eastern Chinese city of Yancheng have stacked thousands of banknotes behind teller windows to assure customers that their accounts are in good hands.
The unusual display is a response to recent rumours that banks have been turning down account holders’ withdrawal requests. Earlier this week, a customer seeking to withdraw 200,000 yuan (£19,500) from their account was turned away from a leading regional bank.
The refusal, combined with the small size of many banks in China’s eastern regions, alarmed many consumers. A ‘rush for cash’ has reportedly taken place over the past week, causing potential issues for the banks affected by the rumours. The banks are concerned that the crisis could lead to a repeat of recent small-scale bank failures.
Earlier this year, three rural banks failed in China, causing thousands of people to lose their savings and resulting in a surge of public concern about the stability of China’s rural banks. Chinese regulators are taking the issue seriously, with a new approach to credit defaults a major priority for 2014.
Bank customers have been sighted carrying “baskets full of money” from local bank branches after the rumours started to spread. Many of the banks have piled notes to head level behind their teller counters in order to reassure customers that there is no risk to their accounts.
Sheyang county governor Tian Weiyou recently published a short video alerting the region’s residents to the local banking crisis, urging local account holders not to take action. Banks in the region have reportedly hired security guards to ensure the lines of people waiting to withdraw remain orderly, and installed electronic signs near their entrances urging account holders not to panic about their deposits.