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Coin shortage continues, banks ask you to bring in your spare change

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 4:22 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Local banks are seeing the effects of a coin shortage and are asking you to cash in those coins you have stored in a jar at home.

The Federal Reserve is minting coins, but there’s no circulation.

“We’re just right back at that full circle piece where we just want to get coin moving again, have our clients bring those in and just get it back into circulation,” said Janessa Sparacino, assistant vice president banking officer, Watertown Savings Bank.

When the COVID pandemic hit, fewer people were going out. And fewer people were using bills and coins out of fear of spreading the virus.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has put a cap on how much coin it distributes, because still, one year later, it hasn’t reached pre-pandemic levels.

The north country is already feeling the effect.

“Last week was the first week that we really saw a substantial change in what we were able to receive,” said Sparacino.

With coins harder to come by, some businesses had to rethink how they collect their cash.

At Colonial Laundromat in Watertown, the coin shortage opened up a new opportunity.

“We take credit, debit, Google, Apply Pay, you can pay by your phone - all cashless systems we have, basically,” said

Tim O’Connell, owner, Colonial Laundromat.

It was a move the chain was set to make already, but the shortage and pandemic sped up that process.

“After COVID, it just seemed like everybody went to debit and credit. They didn’t want to touch money, or whatever reason. We put it on top of the list of things to do,” said O’Connell.

Watertown Savings Bank has prepared for the shortage by stocking up on coin.

As for how long this will last, no one knows. That’s why the bank wants you to contribute to Operation Get Coin Moving Again.

“We’d be glad to take that coin off your hands,” said Sparacino.

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