Note To Overseas Readers: Millions, Billions, Trillions
February 07, 2009, 03:36 AM
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A German reader has pointed out that my recent work on Community Reinvestment Act pledges of boggling scale by American financial firms is confusing to Continental readers more familiar with the "long scale" of naming huge numbers (where a "billion" is what Americans call a "trillion") rather than the American "short scale." So, let me recount some ten year pledges to serve minority and low income "communities" with both the American words and the dollar numbers:
  • WaMu — $375 billion — $375,000,000,000.00
  • Bank of America — 1.5 trillion — $1,500,000,000,000.00
  • Countrywide — 600 billion — $600,000,000,000.00
My apologies.

In fact, from now on, I think I'll write out the numbers in words as if on a check.

We, Bank of America, promise to pay to CRA-covered recipients One Trillion, Five Hundred Billion, No Million, No Thousands, No Dollars, and 00/100 Cents.