Local Banks and financial institutions are starting to see the impact of a coin circulation shortage because of COVID-19.
Though the shortage hasn’t hit Oklahoma hard yet, the best way to turn this around is to start paying with coins or exchange them for cash.
“The coin is somewhere, it’s just not out in the economy,” said Alicia Wade, Executive Vice President Chief Operating Officer of Valliance Bank. “If you have large amounts of coin at home, take them to your bank and just get the cash. You still have the same amount of money and we have coin to circulate out.”
To make the situation fair, the Federal Reserve is rationing out coins to banks and financial institutions at a significantly lower amount. Many are seeing a 60-80% decrease.
“They took every financial institution’s 2019 average coin orders that were placed,” said Paula Barrington the Executive Director of Treasury Services at BOK Financial. “From there we were notified this will be your maximum allocation on a weekly basis. When you have a 60-80% decrease you don’t know how long you’re going to recover.”
Banks and financial institutions said coin usage went down when COVID-19 hit the state for a few reasons. Businesses that usually operate on coin shut down or went contactless, and the generations that typically use cash and coin are staying home.
“Who uses cash? Baby Boomers and older people. Baby boomers and older people aren’t out yet, they’re still at home,” said Wade. “They’re still taking the coronavirus warning seriously and staying at home.”
Now, many businesses are struggling to stock their registers to pre-pandemic levels.
BOK Financial said the Federal Mint is trying to make more coins, but it has to take COVID-19 safety precautions.
“The Mint reduced the production of coin because they were trying to social distance and protect their employees,” said Barrington. “I believe what the mint produced in the first quarter of 2020 was the lowest it’s been since 2013.”
“You could do these retailers a great favor by gathering up your coin and pay for your order with coin. You know they’re going to love it,” said Barrington.
If you do decide to pay with coins, make sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after.