When Piggy Banks Won't Do

D. Hursts/Alamy

When Piggy Banks Won't Do

Sales of home safes have spiked as consumers fret about the economy and the security of financial institutions. SentrySafe, the largest maker of home vaults, says orders are up 50% over the last four weeks. At Home Depot, nationwide sales of safes are up by double digits. Are nervous consumers keeping cash at home? One proxy for such hoarding is a sharp rise in “currency in circulation,” and the Fed is reporting a $21 billion rise in that category for the month ended Oct. 15. That’s the biggest increase since 1999, when Y2K fears had people worrying about bank computers.