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Federal Reserve Says U.S. Facing Coin Shortage

Is temporarily allocating coin orders throughout system

WASHINGTON — If you think that acquiring quarters for your laundry isn’t as easy nowadays, you may be right. Due to a coin shortage related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Federal Reserve recently implemented temporary coin order allocations.

In a June 11 press release, the Federal Reserve said the pandemic had “significantly disrupted” the coin supply and normal circulation patterns. In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly and the U.S. Mint’s production of coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect employees.

But as Federal Reserve coin orders from institutions have begun to increase as regions reopen, the inventory has been reduced to below normal levels.

“Although the Federal Reserve is confident that the coin inventory issues will resolve once the economy opens more broadly and the coin supply chain returns to normal circulation patterns, we recognize that these measures alone will not be enough to resolve near‐term issues,” the independent government agency reports.

Therefore, as of June 15, the Federal Reserve Banks and their coin distribution locations began to allocate available supplies of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to depository institutions as a temporary measure.

While the U.S. Mint is the issuing authority for coins, the Federal Reserve manages coin inventory and its distribution to commercial banks, community banks, credit unions and thrifts.

The agency is basing the temporary allocation on historical order volume by denomination and depository institution endpoint, and current U.S. Mint production levels. Order limits are unique by denomination and are the same across all distribution locations.

Limits will be reviewed and potentially revised, the agency adds, based on national receipt levels, inventories, and Mint production.