Coin shortage affecting rural banks more than businesses

Published: Jul. 11, 2020 at 9:24 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - Banks may be short on coins in the Ozarks, thanks to the coronavirus.

According to some business owners, the national shortage may have started to affect the coin supply for local banks.

“I cannot imagine us living in a cashless society. I just don’t think it would work,” Heather Christopher said.

Christopher has seen recent social media posts about the coin shortage.

Saturday, she went to give a customer change, while working at Old Time Flea Market, and noticed she was down to her last penny.

“I had not thought about it happening in West Plains but had to give a nickel back because I am down to one penny. I couldn’t give change for four cents. I had to give them a nickel,” Christopher added.

Tim Cates, owner of the Wash Board, a laundromat, relies on people’s change to make a living.

He doesn't want to see a card-driven society.

“I’m not looking forward to it. I like the old way,” Cates explained.

Cates has enough coins right now, that he is actually in a position to help.

“As far as my business - I’ve actually sold some (coins) to a local bank,” Cates told KY3.

The Federal Reserve said last month it would limit the amount of coins it sends to banks due to the shortage caused by the pandemic.

Kevin Dietz’s arcade games inside the Wash Board, make him a prime candidate for banks on the hunt for coins.

“I’ve had a couple of banks call me and ask me if I coming in with some loads of quarters for them,” Dietz said.

He travels the Ozarks and has heard employees mention a shortage but says he hasn't seen any signs of private businesses short on change.

“Nobody’s put out signs saying we are in dire need of coins,” Dietz noted.

The Federal Reserve expects coin circulation to return to normal as more businesses open back up and production of coins increases.

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