Business analyst at the Cash Division

From cashless to cash

“At the end of my college degree in Financial Services Management, I wrote my thesis on the cashless payment system. That's how I got in touch with DNB. I found it interesting to learn what our central bank was all about and I realised it could be a very interesting employer. A while later, by chance, I stumbled across a job opening that expired exactly that day. I didn't want to pass up that opportunity, so I quickly wrote my cover letter and CV and submitted it just in time. We're talking ten years ago now.

For the first few years, I worked at Finance, in cashless payments, but eventually switched to a field very close to my heart: cash payments. Banknotes have something special, the tangibility of them fascinates me. Everyone knows what they are, but few people know what it takes to sustain them as a payment method. It is also a chain that is very much in flux.

Dynamic chain

The Netherlands is among the countries that uses cash least; we pay about 85% electronically. By comparison, in Germany people pay 60% of their purchases in cash. Yet cash still serves a purpose and there is no substitute for it as yet. Suppose there is massive disruption in electronic payments, a cyberattack, or unrest in any way? Then banknotes are an important backup.

As cash payments in the Netherlands have gradually declined in recent years, the cash chain has changed dramatically. Most parties in the cash chain have undergone name changes or have been taken over. Also, smart adjustments have been made to keep the cash infrastructure affordable, available, reliable and usable for all.

Consideration is also being given to keeping the cash chain future-proof, together with chain partners and the Ministry of Finance. Keeping ATMs up and running, for example, is expensive, but having one nearby is also important to people. How do you ensure that the cash chain can continue to facilitate this? And what is the right balance we should aim to strike? For us at DNB that is a key theme. And with the data I receive as an analyst from chain partners, I contribute to the debate by providing insight.

Cash fascinates me – it’s a chain that is very much in flux.

Supervision of cash handlers

The department where I work oversees parties that recirculate money. They collect notes, check if they are genuine and/or clean enough to use again and return them to the chain. Any notes they assess as unfit are returned to us. As an analyst, I process data on cash payments and on the parties putting banknotes and coins into circulation. I keep track of the number of notes cash handlers recirculate and process. I also prepare forecasts of our banknote supply. When the recirculating parties have insufficient banknotes, they collect them from us, so our stocks must always be sufficient.

New position and relocation

While I’m a business analyst now, I will soon be promoted to the position of cash oversight officer. In that role, I will be less involved in analysis and forecasting, but deal more directly with the parties we oversee. Another challenge in our division is the planned relocation of the banknotes. Our headquarters in Amsterdam is currently undergoing extensive renovation. The gold and cash have therefore been moved to a temporary home, pending the opening of our brand new facility at Camp New Amsterdam in Zeist. This will be a high-tech cash centre that is innovative, future-proof and sustainable. I too will be moving to Zeist and am very much looking forward to doing my job in a new, dynamic environment.

Culture and challenge

I have stayed at DNB all these years for various reasons. First and foremost, there is a pleasant working atmosphere in my department. For instance, we have a “culture think tank”, in which we discuss current issues such as safety, cooperation and appreciation. This speaks to the culture at DNB, which offers room for individual initiatives and input. In addition, at DNB I have always found the challenges and incentives that make me tick. And that’s not surprising in such a unique organisation. I mean, let’s face it: which company has gold on its balance sheet?”

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