CLAYTON, Mo. (KTVI) – The U.S. Mint is encouraging Americans to use exact change when they can in order to get coins back into circulation in the economy.
At least one local bank is encouraging customers to grab the change off their dressers and bring it in.
Trying to make cents of a nationwide coin shortage, Central Bank of St. Louis has been asking customers for change.
“There is a shortage of change at the retail. The mint was closed for a month or two and still reduced. They say they’re running full blast, but I hear differently because of COVID. You had to space people out. People aren’t going out as much, none of us have and when we do go out, we like to use these contactless. And the retailers like you to use it as well for one they don’t have to handle the currency but secondly, they don’t have change to give you,” said Rick Bagy, President Central Bank of St. Louis.
But in 2020, change is hard to come by as the pandemic has interrupted daily life.
“Our customers are bringing in coins and we enter them into a contest, and we have a number of Cardinals items we’re giving away. Same thing with our employees.”
Wednesday afternoon the bank was sorting all of the coins that have been brought in by customers over the past three weeks.
They were given paper money in exchange and entered to win Cardinals themed prizes.
“We’ve raised, they brought in $50,000 doesn’t sound like a lot. But in nickels dimes and pennies it’s a lot.”
The slowdown of society due to COVID-19 is the coin shortage summed up in one word, circulation.
Coins aren’t getting passed between cash registers to customers and onto other businesses.
“We’re only getting about 60% allocation from the FED in coins. And of course, our customers have been asking for double what they usually have because they like to stock up. So, there’s a nationwide shortage it’s strange. We started out with the toilet paper and paper towels, and now it’s currency or coins.”
Central bank’s coin promotion is just wrapping up, but due to the success of the drive, they’re going to hold another coin collection.