Singapore

New processing centre keeps cash eco system up and running

Large mirrors are mounted on all the walls at this workplace, not for aesthetic reasons, but as a conspicuous deterrence against theft.

Here, employees take passports to work - not to travel, but to prevent them from fleeing the country with any loot.

Workers wear pocketless jumpsuits with locks at the collars, and can be opened only by the security guards.

To top it all, everyone has to undergo an 18-step body search before leaving the workplace, just to make sure no money leaves with them.

Certis Cisco Secure Logistics is taking no chances with its latest cash-processing centre, which opened officially in Commonwealth yesterday.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, the centre counts, sorts and accounts for a sizeable portion of the money that keeps Singapore's cash ecosystem running.

Cash collected from hundreds of bank outlets, ATMs and retailers are processed here by high-speed sorting machines and then sent back out to be re-circulated for use in the economy.

Other cash-processing service providers like Aetos Holdings also deploy water-tight security measures and monitoring services in their operations.

As of now, Certis Cisco is the only cash-processing provider with a full "hot" backup site, said Certis Group chairman Olivier Lim at the opening.

Its Commonwealth centre and the current facility in Paya Lebar will back-up each other if one goes down.

Aside from counting and sorting, the two cash-processing machines at Commonwealth and the two at Paya Lebar pick out damaged notes that have been written on, torn or discoloured.

These are taken to the Monetary Authority of Singapore to be exchanged for new notes and returned to the cash ecosystem.

With close to $1 billion passing through both cash-processing centres every day, security and reliability are key.

To work there, employees undergo thorough background checks and are screened for financial and criminal records.

Certis Cisco also pays close attention to its fleet of 114 security vehicles and 330 auxiliary police officers taking the money to and from bank outlets, ATMs and retailers.

BUSINESS & FINANCE