Guaranteeing uninterrupted access to cash, whatever the circumstances

The Banque de France is responsible for putting banknotes and coins into circulation throughout mainland France and – through the IEDOM – the overseas departments. It must ensure that individuals and businesses have free access to cash at all times, particularly in times of crisis, when cash use may increase.

Uninterrupted access to cash is essential and must be guaranteed whatever crises may arise. To meet this key challenge, the Banque de France relies on its network of cash centres and vaults and on external cash industry players (cash-in-transit companies, credit institutions, retail trade associations and French government ministries).

Crisis preparedness: a prerequisite for a robust cash industry

The Paris Resilience Group was set up in 2005 at the behest of the Banque de France to strengthen the operational resilience of the Paris financial centre by ensuring that France’s financial system can withstand operational shocks affecting its critical functions.

Role and composition of the Financial Centre Cash Crisis Unit

The financial centre resilience system presided by the Banque de France is organised around three Cellules de Crise de Place (CCP – Financial Centre Crisis Units) with specific remits:

  • Financial Centre Crisis Unit – Liquidity (CCP – L)
  • Financial Centre Crisis Unit – Communication (CCP – C)
  • Financial Centre Crisis Unit – Cash (CCP – F)

CCP – F deals with cash activities. It is run by the Banque de France and brings together stakeholders from within the cash industry and representatives from credit institutions, the retail trade sector, cash-in-transit companies, the French Ministry of Economics, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty and the French Ministry of the Interior.

Whenever a minor or major crisis is likely to occur, the CCP – F meets to make advance preparations for degraded management operations and thus keep foreseeable impacts to a minimum, to manage the crisis when it hits to ensure banknote distribution, and to arrange for the resumption of normal operations.

The CCP – F response to recent crises

The Financial Centre Crisis Unit responsible for cash notably met during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and was able to ensure that everyone could access cash, even during lockdowns.

In order to improve its collective and proactive preparedness, the Unit also met to discuss how activities could be continued in the event of rolling blackouts during the winter of 2022/23.

Banque de France powers and resources for a robust cash industry

The robustness of the industry hinges on the Banque de France’s cash distribution circuit structured around its vaults and cash centres, as well as auxiliary banknote storage facilities and auxiliary coin depositories across the country.

Naturally, it also embraces the resources of industry stakeholders, cash-in-transport companies, credit institutions and retail associations to ensure that everyone is able to withdraw cash.

The Banque de France worked with financial centre players on a crisis management exercise in 2022 in order to identify the types of crisis that could impact cash infrastructure activities, their potential consequences, and the measures to be taken and the conditions for their implementation. Degraded modes of operation were thus identified and were readied for activation should the need arise.

Updated on 30 April 2024