Currencies

Wisconsin Bankers Association says consumers face new currency crisis | Economics

MADISON (WKOW) — Financial experts warn we’re facing another currency crisis, just years after the coin shortage.

“We need the public to start using change more,” said Rose Oswald-Poels, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association.

Oswald-Poels warned we could be facing a currency crisis again. Coin shortage signs have started popping up across our state, but Oswald-Poels said that’s not exactly the problem.

“There isn’t a shortage of coins in the country, but definitely people are not using it enough to keep it circulating,” said Oswald-Poels.

Customers and businesses weren’t able to step inside banks during the pandemic which experts say contributed to the coin shortage.

The shortage was so serious that the U.S. Treasury Department rationed currency to banks.

“We were limited to like 1,000 quarters, 1,000 dimes, 200 nickels and 100 pennies per week for all of our locations,” said Nona Havey, Assistant Vice President Bank Manager at One Community Bank.

Now, experts say we’re facing a coin circulation problem because many shoppers use credit or debit cards and keep their coins. Several national retail and financial organizations penned a letter to the Department of the Treasury in late March asking for help.

“Too many people are keeping coins in their piggy banks at home and they really need to keep it circulating out in the public among different businesses and the banking industry,” said Oswald-Poels.

Banks warn if there’s not enough change put back into circulation, there could be some drastic changes in store for consumers.

“You will see retail stores telling their customers that they don’t have enough change, and to either encourage people to use their card or to bring exact change,” said Oswald-Poels.

The Wisconsin Bankers Association hopes to have more coins in circulation before the retail holiday shopping season.

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