Jack Lew, Obama’s presumptive nominee for U.S. Treasury Secretary will face many challenges if he is confirmed — from increasing the debt ceiling to tackling budget cuts.
He may also have to change his signature.
If Lew, the current White House chief of staff, is confirmed by the Senate, his John Hancock will grace the lower right-hand side of each bill in your wallet. The only problem? Lew’s signature can best be described as a series of loops and squiggles that bear no resemblance to the actual characters in his name.
Current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Marketplace last year that he had to change his signature from a loopy version to something more legible when he submitted his signature to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving to print on currency notes. “I had to write something where people could read my name,” he said in the interview.
Sheila Low, a handwriting expert and president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, said Lew’s current signature reminded her of a steamroller.
“From his signature, it seems to me that he’ll put forth his ideas, and he’ll keep going until he gets done what he wants to do.”
The process of transferring the new secretary’s signature can take three months. The bureau must first receive the signatures of the new secretary and the new treasurer. The bureau then creates a series of bills with new serial numbers and suffix letters. A new plate also has to be designed before they can begin printing the bills.
The signatures of the Treasury secretaries may seem like small potatoes, but they are required to be changed on currency notes in order to make the bills legal tender.