As the stock market was having its worst day in 30 years on Thursday, customers at a Bank of America branch in Midtown Manhattan, the financial heart of New York, were lining up to take cash out of their accounts — sometimes tens of thousands of dollars at a time.
So many people sought huge sums that the bank branch, at 52nd Street and Park Avenue, temporarily ran out of $100 bills to fulfill large withdrawals, according to three people familiar with the branch’s operations. The shortage hit after a rash of requests for as much as $50,000, said two people who witnessed the rush.
The problem was limited to large bills — the bank’s A.T.M.s stayed stocked and customers with routine transactions were still able to take out cash. By Friday morning, the bank had refilled its supply of big bills, two of the people said.
But the desire for cash persisted: A teller at a JPMorgan Chase branch across the street said on Friday that there had been a “nonstop” stream of customers stockpiling cash over the past two days.
Bill Halldin, a Bank of America spokesman, said the bank had enough cash available at its branches meet its clients’ needs. “We don’t keep large amounts of cash in big bills in the branches because it’s dangerous for our employees and there is low demand,” he said.
Even so, it appears the deep level of fear that has set in on Wall Street — as weeks of market gyrations have wiped trillions of dollars of wealth — has also permeated people’s personal lives.