Oregon banks ask public to use spare coins to mitigate shortage


People can deposit spare change at a bank or at a coin-cashing machine

Coins (Public Domain Pictures/Theodore Palser)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Time to empty out your piggy banks! The Oregon Bankers Association is asking consumers to use and deposit their spare change in order to help mitigate the coin shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coin recirculation slows significantly when businesses were forced to shutdown because of COVID-19. With more online shopping along with businesses restricting cash handling to avoid physical contact, change in coins was being circulated less and less over the last few months. According to the Oregon Bankers Association, recirculated coins represents more than 80% of the total supply while the rest of the supply is met by new coin production.

“In a normal period of time, more than 4 billion coins are deposited — or recirculated — each month. Beginning in April, less than 2 billion are being recirculated,” OBA President and CEO Linda Navarro said. “There is adequate coin in the economy. However, the slowed pace of circulation means that a sufficient amount of coin is not readily available where needed. We need to jumpstart recirculation of coins.”

Although some businesses have begun to reopen, those coins largely still remain in the possession of consumers. The OBA says people can deposit spare change at a bank or at a coin-cashing machine. They also say to use exact amounts when making purchases.

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