A Chinese bank is trying to save a village couple’s life savings worth nearly 230,000 GBP after they left it buried underground for half a decade due to a mistrust of financial services.
Ms Wang, who is from the village of Hancun in Suixi County in East China’s Anhui Province, brought the rotting and decomposed cash to her Agricultural Bank of China branch last month.
According to Ms Wang, she recently learned that her parents had buried 2 million RMB (228,219 GBP) worth of their savings in their garden instead of depositing the amount in the bank.
They did so out of a mistrust of banks, fearing their hard-earned cash would be siphoned away without their knowledge or consent.
Ms Wang said she immediately dug up the savings, which had been underground for five years and were already largely decomposed.
Li Jizhong, director of Hanchun branch, said: “The banknotes were like blocks of mud. They were all mouldy and wet.
“The villager said she had dozens more bundles of money in the same condition at home.
“I was surprised. I’ve been working in banking for more than 30 years, but I’ve never seen such a large amount of damaged and dirty banknotes.”
According to the bank, the 2 million RMB came in 100 RMB (11 GBP) banknotes, each bearing the standard portrait of Chairman Mao on the front.
They had been bundled and buried in 200 wads of 10,000 RMB (1,133 GBP) each.
After weeks of cleaning and sorting, the bank was able to exchange 1.2 million RMB (136,897 GBP) worth of the new banknotes for the villager and her parents.
Staff members also said they would also spend the next two weeks attempting to salvage the remaining 80,000 RMB (9,070 GBP).
The mouldy and broken cash would need to be carefully evaluated in order to determine their remaining value, which could be halved or worse due to the condition.
The bank estimates the village couple will lose at least one-quarter of their savings as a result of burying it underground.
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