I got a rather amusing email from one of my banks today, encouraging the use of coinage. A large part of that amusement comes from the fact that I actively avoid physical currency in practically all forms. I’m not in the habit of having or using it, so the idea that I might be preventing it from circulating borders on the absurd.
I realize this isn’t a universal stance. In my region it’s a fairly rare one, as far as I know. More interestingly, even though I may not have a giant secret coin stash, the fact remains that coinage is a bit short at the moment and the bank has decided that individuals are to blame. They’re just echoing the same talking points as the Mint.
According to the Federal Reserve it isn’t a shortage of actual coins, but rather one of circulation. Since one of their solutions is to place caps on distribution quantities in order to “ensure fair distribution,” I can see where individual banks might feel pressured to incentivise turn-ins and deposits to alleviate their own personal shortages once they’ve hit the cap.
The stated reason for this is primarily that COVID has altered and disrupted normal circulation patterns. I’m not sure I’m willing to buy that explanation at this point though. I’m sure it played a part, but we haven’t had the widespread lockdowns that many other countries have had. Certainly not in my part of the country. To what end would people collectively be holding on to change more than normal?
I could throw a few things at the wall, but it’s pure conjecture with nothing to back it up. Perhaps the stimuluses combined with upward wage pressure and a volatile labor market have put people in a position where they aren’t having to cash out their “coin jars” to pay for expenses. Perhaps some are stockpiling it out of some expectation of social upheaval. Perhaps there’s several construction companies going around and epoxying it to floors and other surfaces as a decorate finish. Beats me.
It’s just an amusement and curiosity at the moment though, at least within my own life. I’m not impacted in any way by it and I have no meaningful way to assist with the problem.
Y’all take care. Remember, the bank really wants your coins, but not enough to pay more than face value.