LAS VEGAS – Time to empty those piggy banks to help small businesses. Nevada banks are asking consumers to deposit their spare change at their local bank or coin-cashing machines as pandemic-related shutdowns have created a coin shortage.
When COVID-19 restrictions went into place, the closing of establishments like retail shops, bank branches and laundromats – typical places where coins enter society – significantly slowed the normal rate of coin circulation. More consumers then migrated to shopping online or, if in person, using debit and credit cards to minimize physical contact associated with using cash. The coins that they would have used or received in change were then not being circulated back into the system.
“In the beginning of 2020, more than 4 billion coins were deposited, or recirculated, each month,” said Phyllis Gurgevich, president and CEO of the Nevada Bankers Association. “Those numbers dropped to less than 2 billion nationwide beginning in April.”
As more businesses have been reopening, demand from merchants to stock coins at higher levels is increasing, but a large number of coins remain with consumers. This is creating a critical issue because recirculated coins represent more than 80% of the supply, with the remaining amount being new coins produced by the U.S. Mint.
“There is adequate coin in the economy. However, the slowed pace of circulation means that a sufficient number of coins is not readily available where needed,” Gurgevich said. “If you have spare change, we encourage Nevadans to check with their local bank to see if they are accepting rolled coins, or use exact change when purchasing items, or deposit them in grocery store coin-cashing machines.”
As of April 2020, the U.S. Treasury estimates that the total value of coins in circulation is $47.8 billion, up from $47.4 billion as of April 2019.
The Federal Reserve projects a gap between supply and demand of 2.3 to 3.5 billion coins each month through the end of 2020.
About Nevada Bankers Association
NBA is the united voice of Nevada’s diverse banking industry. Members are dedicated to providing the best financial products, services and resources to drive and support economic growth, job creation and prosperity throughout the state of Nevada. Visit www.nvbankers.org.