MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This month, the city of Minneapolis is opening doors to places the public typically can’t go.

You probably have driven by it, on the corner of North 1st Street and Hennepin Avenue. But did you know last year more than $13 billion of cash came out of the building?

WCCO This Morning is going behind closed doors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis to show you how you can get a free tour and even leave with a bag of “cash”.

Neel Kashkari, President of the Minneapolis Fed, is inviting you to come see the stacks of cash in its basement vault, where cameras are forbidden.

“We don’t print money here, but we distribute money,” he said.

The money comes from the Treasury Department and is distributed to banks.

“If you go to the ATM and get money out of the ATM, it would have come from our vault,” Kashkari said.

Don’t let the name fool you. The Minneapolis Fed also serves the Dakotas, Montana, and parts of Michigan and Wisconsin.

Displays will teach you about the mission of the Fed and the 1,000 people who work here.

“We at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis represent this region and go back to Washington D.C. and help set monetary policy around the country,” Kashkari said. “We move interest rates up and down and that affects the cost of a mortgage or a car loan or a student loan, we do that to try to smooth the ups and down of the economy.”

The Fed also shreds old bills. Last year it shredded $1 billion worth.

“When the bills come in we have high speed machines that look at each bill and determines ‘does it look like it’s a defective bill’ then it moves over to this other pile and gets shredded,” he said.

You can even take some home! The Fed gives visitors a small bag of the shredded cash.

The Fed is also in the business of checking for counterfeit cash with this UV light. “People can bring their own money stick it in and try to determine if it’s real or not,” he said.

Magnifying glasses will show you intricate features used to stop counterfeiters. Security features that get more complex as criminals get smarter.

“It’s just like cyber security it’s an arms race,” said Kashkari. “The bad guys invest more money, but then we have to invest more money to make sure we’ve got the cutting edge security features.”

Kim Johnson

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