IMF joins trade groups in demanding more action on coin shortage

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The IMF-The Food Industry Association and nine other associations in the retail and finance industry have called on the US Treasury Department to educate the public about the need to increase coin circulation.

The IMF said on Monday that much of the $48.5 billion in coins currently circulating is “dormant” in the country’s 128 million homes, continuing a shortage that emerged at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, cash-dependent food retailers and grocery shoppers still struggle to access enough coins for daily cash transactions.

In one letter sent monday to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the 10 trade groups called on the department to step up support for the U.S. Coinage Task Force “Get Coin Moving” Campaign. The letter noted that the US Mint does not have the capacity to produce enough new coins to make up for the circulation deficit, which would impact retail customers unable to pay for goods and services via credit cards. and flow.

“For the food industry, this disruption in coin supply affects a grocer’s ability to conduct cash transactions because there are insufficient coins to make change at the cash register,” said Christine Pollack, Vice-Chancellor. president of government relations at IMF, in a press release. “This severely limits the ability of millions of cash-dependent and cash-preferred grocery shoppers to purchase needed goods and services.”

Coin orders from financial institutions and Federal Reserve deposits (volume in bags)

Many armored carriers have reported FI coin locker inventories that exceed pre-pandemic levels.

US Coinage Task Force

In addition to IMF, organizations signing the letter included the National Grocers Association (NGA), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), NATSO-Representing America’s Travel Plazas and Truck Stops, SIGMA-America’s Leading Fuel Marketers, American Bankers Associations, Credit Union National Association, Independent Community Bankers of America and National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions.

“The the pandemic has affected consumer coin usage shifting a large number of transactions from in-person cash payments to card payments and online sales. Additionally, when the money is used to make purchases, the coins received in change are often not used to make subsequent transactions,” the associations wrote in the letter. “The result is more coins sitting in piggy banks and coin jars and less coins being put back into circulation and available to retailers to facilitate more transactions. This is a problem given that the majority of coin demand is met by recirculated coins.

“We ask that you and the Treasury Department use your platform and your voice to raise awareness about this slowdown in coin circulation and the need to keep coins circulating in the economy,” added the organizations.

In June 2020, the Federal Reserve announced that the COVID-19 outbreak “had significantly disrupted” the normal supply chain and circulation patterns of U.S. currency. That month, the Fed and its coin distribution sites began allocating supplies of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to depository institutions as a temporary measure to ensure a “fair and equitable distribution” of the current parts inventory.

At the time, IMF, NGA, NACS, RILA and other retail groups sent a letter to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and then Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to address the coin shortage. . In the letter, they pointed out that cash accounts for more than a third of all funds transacted in person by US consumers and nearly half of all funds for transactions under $10.

In late 2020 and early 2021, coin circulation improved enough to allow the Fed to lift restrictions on coins. Since then, however, coin circulation has slowed and coins are rationed again. The “Get Coin Moving” campaign urges consumers to use exact change in cash purchases, deposit coins at their financial institution, or exchange their change at a coin kiosk.

The IMF said it joined the US Coin Task Force in July 2020 along with the US Mint, Fed, armored carriers, bankers, coin aggregators and other retailers to help address coin issues. parts supply. Other members include retailers Walmart and Target and coin aggregator CoinStar, among others.

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