A nationwide coin shortage has Oregon banks scrambling to provide merchants with enough pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to serve their customers, such as retail stores.
With normal retail spending patterns disrupted this year by the coronavirus, more people are holding on to their coins at home instead of putting them back into the economy.
“We have ample coin supply, it’s just that re-circulation is about half of what it’s normally been," said Linda Navarro, the president and CEO of the Oregon Bankers Association. "I don't think anyone thinks this is a real long-term issue. It's an issue associated with the pandemic. And as our economy eventually returns to more normal levels, I think we'll be able to see this resolved."
At the national level, the Federal Reserve has convened a task force to help distribute coins to where they’re most needed. Some Oregon businesses are asking customers to use credit or debit cards, and a few have announced they’ll no longer give coins as change.