Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Economic shut-down, restart stretches coin supply for banks, consumers
Don’t discount that jingle in your pocket or that jar of pennies in the corner of your closet.
At least one Oklahoma bank has notified its customers it is conserving coins and seeking more as it deals with nationwide supply disruptions that have been caused by the coronavirus-spawned economic shutdown.
In an email sent June 19, MidFirst Bank told customers a normal supply of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters isn’t currently available.
However, it also informed customers an ample supply of paper currency remains in circulation.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced the nation’s supply of coins had reached below-normal levels at both its coin distribution centers and its branch banks across the nation.
The agency stated it is experiencing a supply and demand pinch because the amount of coins deposited into its facilities by banks it serves declined while most of the nation’s economy was shuttered by the authorities in an attempt to flatten the curve of potential COVID-19 infections.
Conversely, that supply was further impacted in late May and early June as businesses needing coins to serve their customers began to make draws on available supplies as the economy started to reopen.
Another factor, the Federal Reserve noted, is that a production of coins from the U.S. Mint also fell earlier this year as that institution implemented safety measures to protect its employees from the pandemic.
While the U.S. Mint is the issuing authority for coins, the Federal Reserve manages coin inventory and its distribution to depository institutions that include commercial banks, community banks, credit unions and thrifts.
The agency distributes the coins through its branch bank operations and through other offsite locations across the country operated by Federal Reserve vendors.
The Federal Reserve stated it is working on several fronts to mitigate the effects of low coin inventories.
Steps it is taking include:
• Working with the Mint to minimize coin supply constraints and maximize coin production capacity.
• Encouraging depository institutions to order only the coin they need to meet near‐term customer demand and to help replenish inventories by removing barriers to consumer deposits of loose and rolled coins.
It also is limiting coin distribution, using historical order volumes and current production volumes to help set those parameters.
“Although the Federal Reserve is confident that the coin inventory issues will resolve once the economy opens more broadly and the coin supply chain returns to normal circulation patterns, we recognize that these measures (are needed) to resolve near‐term issues.”
As for MidFirst Bank, its email spelled out ways customers could help as circulation shortages continue.
It requests that customers make cash withdrawals from their accounts or cash checks drawn on MidFirst or other financial institutions using even dollar amounts.
It also requests that customers consider using the bank’s credit or debit cards to make routine purchases they previously may have used cash and coins to pay for.
And, for those customers with extra coins in their pockets or homes?
The bank said it is willing to accept the change for deposit into non-commercial customers’ accounts at no cost.
“Thank you for your understanding during this time,” its email reads. “We will update you as we learn more from the Federal Reserve and the coin supply returns to normal.”