Home News Local News Signs of national coin shortage arrive in Roswell

Signs of national coin shortage arrive in Roswell

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Lisa Dunlap Photo The Walgreens store on South Main Street was one of several retail and restaurant sites in Roswell on Thursday to have signs posted about a coin shortage.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

If the Federal Reserve system succeeds in one of its newest endeavors, more people will be depositing or spending their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to address a national coin circulation problem.

The problem reached Roswell this week, as posted signs began appearing during the past few days inside and outside some stores and restaurants to inform people about a temporary coin shortage in the area or to request that customers use exact change or debit or credit cards when possible.

Vibe Restaurants, based in Dallas, has asked its franchise sites, including the two Little Caesars Pizza restaurants and the new Wingstop location in Roswell, to put signs up.

“Customers have been pretty understanding, and, as a result, we have seen more customers pay with a credit card,” said Kent Chapin, Vibe’s director of marketing. “It is not an official policy, but it is just a, ‘hey, if you have exact change or a credit card, that would be appreciated because there is a coin shortage.’”

Similar signs also have appeared elsewhere in the city, including the Walgreens on South Main Street, two Brewer’s convenience stores in the city, and a Whataburger and a Stripes on North Main Street.

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Walgreens spokesperson Kris Lathan said that in addition to requesting that customers use exact change or card, some stores also are offering to put any change due back to customers onto a gift card.

The Federal Reserve Bank system, the nationwide central banking system for the United States that is responsible for ensuring stability of the banking system and also provides banking services to U.S. financial institutions, made a public announcement June 11 that the coronavirus pandemic and related stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns were disrupting the coin supply nationwide.

“The low coin inventories are affecting the ability to fulfill orders across the U.S.,” said Federal Reserve Services spokesperson Susan Stawick. “I don’t have state or regional-specific information.”

The Federal Reserve system has implemented a temporary “strategic coin allocation system” that caps coin orders by some financial institutions and seeks to redistribute coins equitably among U.S. institutions. The Federal Reserve also intends to form the U.S. Coin Task Force to come up with some longer-term solutions. The task force is scheduled to hold a series of remote meetings in July, Stawick said.

The task force members will be identified soon, she said, and will represent various segments of the U.S. economy. According to the Federal Reserve Services website, groups to be represented will include the U.S. Mint, the Federal Reserve, armored carriers, the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers Association, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, the coin aggregators industry and the retail industry.

The June announcement about the temporary strategic allocation of coins indicated that the low supply of coins is due to a couple of factors resulting from the pandemic. For one thing, not as many people are using their coins at stores and restaurants, which then limits businesses’ coin deposits in banks.

Another factor is that the production of new coins by the U.S. Mint has slowed because of COVID-19-related employee reductions.

The U.S. Mint is working to increase production, and the Federal Reserve has encouraged banks and other “coin industry partners” to use the #getcoinsmoving or #getcoinmoving hashtag for social media to encourage people to use or deposit their dimes and nickels.

That has prompted some financial institutions in other states to post announcements that they are offering small account credits or a chance to win a gift card to customers who deposit a certain amount of coins into their accounts. The Federal Reserve also has encouraged financial institutions to relax their rules temporarily about requiring coins to be in rolls to be deposited.

One local bank president said his institution has experienced a shortfall but is still dealing with the situation in other ways.

“We have been able to provide our customers with all the coins that they have requested,” said Cody Burson, president of Valley Bank of Commerce.

He said there is $47 billion in coins in circulation in the economy.

“We understand the problem is out there just because of COVID-19. The circulation of that $47 billion has been interrupted,” he said.

Valley Bank is experiencing the coin limits that the Federal Reserve is implementing, but it still has been able to meet customers’ needs, as well as offer some of its competitors coins when they had shortages, Burson said.

He encourages awareness on the issue and asks people to deposit their coins rather than keep them in a jar or dresser top.

“A lot of people save those coins and they need to take them to their financial institutions and deposit them into their accounts and it would help out the country,” he said.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

 

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.