There seem to be a lot of shortages right now – shortage of work, shortage of workers, shortage of new cars in car lots, and even a shortage of coins.
Derek Moore with First Bank of Wyoming says the holdup is at the federal level.
“There’s limitations on what banks can actually order in terms of coin,” Moore said, adding that in his years in banking, he’s never come across this situation before.
Garrett Growney with Pinnacle Bank explained that the problem has been brought on by the slowdown in the economy.
“With the shortage of general commerce out there, a lot of coin has not made it back into the Federal Reserve system,” he says.
But Pinnacle Bank got creative. In order to assure an adequate supply for local businesses, it launched a contest to get people to bring in change that they may have been gathering at home – and the chance to win a $50 Visa gift card as the prize.
“There’s a demand for coin,” Growney said. “You’ll see some businesses around town not taking coin transactions. So we saw that coming and have run a promotion so that we could have coin, so that our customers can access it.”
According to the Federal Reserve’s website, the entity is working with the U.S. Mint and others in the industry on solutions, but the agency said that since mid-June, the Mint has been operating at full production capacity and is on track to mint 1.65 billion coins per month for the remainder of the year.
Growney says he doesn’t believe the change shortage is an indication that the government is moving to a “cashless society” as alleged by some conspiracy theorists.
“I know there are some conspiracy theories out there,” he said. “But my thought would be that this would be a very cumbersome way to go about it.”
And he pointed out that there’s still plenty of change circulating.“It’s still getting used,” he said, speaking of coins. “I’m not aware of any effort to do away with it.”