Paper Money

BEP issues 2023 performance and accountability report

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (left) and Treasurer Chief Lynn Malerba appeared together for a ceremony to sign Series 2021 notes. The notes became the first to bear the signatures of two women.

Images courtesy of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has released its annual report for 2023. Formally known as the Chief Financial Officer Performance and Accountability Report, it is the first issued under Acting Director Charlene E. Williams, who was appointed to the position after the retirement of Len Olijar on July 1, 2023.

Ms. Williams wrote in her introductory remarks that the highlight of the year was the debut of the Series 2021 notes, the first federal currency to feature the signatures of two women, Treasury Secretary Yellen and Treasurer Chief Lynn Malerba. The Series 2021 notes are also the first Federal Reserve notes to feature the signature of a Native American. In celebration, the BEP and the Treasury Department hosted a ceremony at the Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where Secretary Yellen and Treasurer Chief Malerba unveiled the new notes. The first notes were delivered to the Federal Reserve in December 2022.

The BEP fulfilled the Federal Reserve Yearly Currency Order on schedule and under budget. The Acting Director also reported that the expansion of the Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth is complete. The project added space for new processes and environmental improvements, additional vault storage, and administrative space. The expansion was also needed for the flexibility it provides as the BEP prepares to move to its new printing plant being built in Beltsville, Maryland. That initiative is on track. Building plans were officially approved by the National Capital Planning Commission in April 2023. Grounds-clearing continues, with building to begin in 2024. Production is expected to begin at the new facility in late 2028 or early 2029, pending unforeseen issues.

The report offered a hint of what the next family of Federal Reserve notes, called “Catalyst,” will look like. The designs will be increasingly more complex than the current ones. They will incorporate improved counterfeit deterrence features, and finally, a raised tactile feature to assist the blind and visually impaired. BEP has already performed testing on the new designs, as well as testing other product and process improvements.

Chief Financial Officer Steven A. Fisher reports that during the 2023 fiscal year, the BEP delivered 5.7 billion notes to the Federal Reserve, resulting in revenues of $973.3 million, and a profit of $117.3 million. The profit is used to provide the necessary funding for the BEP’s working capital requirements and authorized investments in plant and equipment. It installed and put into production new energy-efficient equipment and implemented process improvements to help reduce operating costs well into the future. This includes the installation of multiple nonsequential Large Examining and Printing Equipment at both Washington and Fort Worth facilities. It is also continuing the multi-year project to move from 32-subject to 50-subject sheets and to use single note inspection technology to minimize product spoilage. Initiatives such as these reduced costs and increased productivity, resulting in savings of more than $16.7 million in manufacturing costs.

The Single Note Inspection Process is now being used on $1, $5, $20, $50, and $100 bills. This is a process that reclaims individual notes that meet quality standards from sheets of currency (either 32 or 50 notes) with at least one defective note. Previously, all sheets that contained at least one defective note were shredded in their entirety. During the 2023 fiscal year, the BEP reclaimed 253.9 million notes at Fort Worth and 88.0 million notes at Washington, which diverted 376.5 tons of currency wastepaper materials from solid waste disposal. This resulted in material and environmental cost savings of $15.9 million.

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