FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Shoppers may have had a hard time getting change in coins in recent weeks, prompting some to ask, “Are we seeing another coin shortage?”
The short answer? It’s complicated.
Consumers will likely remember last year’s nationwide coin shortage due to COVID-19. The supply chain and circulation patterns of coins were disrupted due to businesses and banks being disrupted by the pandemic, along with a temporary cap issued by the Federal Reserve.
According to the Federal Reserve’s website, there is an “adequate” amount of coins circulating in the economy. However, the agency does admit that coin circulation patterns have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. As a result, new caps were reinstated last May. The Federal Reserve hopes that these supply issues will not last long as the economy continues to bounce back from the pandemic.
As the economy recovers and businesses reopen, more coins will flow back into retail and banking channels and eventually flow into the Federal Reserve, which should allow for the further rebuilding of coin inventories available for recirculation.Federal Reserve website
WANE 15 reached out to various local banks to see if they are experiencing any coin shortages. Mike Wallace, President of Retail Bank at STAR Financial, admitted that there has been some recent disruptions in the amount of coins distributed. He believes this is due to changing consumer habits.
“The issue is we still have a lack of distribution throughout the traditional shopping channels – so customers going out (and) using physical coin, using physical cash to those transactions,” Wallace said. “A lot of things have moved digital, and that’s caused some disruption with just the overall distribution of coin throughout the monetary system.”
Not every local bank is experiencing coin shortages, however. A representative at Fort Financial Credit Union said they have not experienced any shortages. Another representative from Flagstar Bank declined an interview, but did offer a statement on this topic:
“Although the Federal Reserve has placed new restrictions on coin ordering, Flagstar has been able to fulfill all customer requests. We continue to welcome rolled coins from customers and will accept any number of rolls with no fee.”Spokesperson, Flagstar Bank
Wallace added that STAR Financial has been able to keep up with customers’ requests to provide physical cash, including coins. To keep up with this demand, STAR Financial and other banks are offering incentives to customers who have a substantial amount of coins. Over the next 60 days, STAR Financial customers will be rewarded with a reusable shopping bag if they bring in over $50 in coins to a retail branch.