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National coin shortage starts to affect Havre


Havre is beginning to see some effects from the national coin shortage going on in the wake of the COIVD-19 pandemic.

The Federal Reserve said this shortage is a result of the U.S. Mint operating at reduced capacity due to the ongoing pandemic.

Jeff Ralph, co-owner of Havre’s McDonalds, said he has begun asking people to use credit or debit cards or use exact change to pay for things because they were not able to obtain enough coins from the bank they do business with.

Havre Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julea Robbins said she was not aware of any other businesses in town facing this issue.

Independence Bank Marketing Manager Terry Lilletvedt said this shortage is beginning to trickle down to smaller banks, but so far Independence Bank is not experiencing any shortage of its own.

However, she said, the bank just received word from the Federal Reserve that they were going to limit the amount of coins that could be ordered from them in response to the shortage.

“At this point, we haven’t had any kind of restrictions or shortages,” she said, “but we are a little worried now with the limits on the amount of coins we can order that we might see some shortages. We haven’t seen any yet, hopefully we won’t, but we’re not exactly sure what the next few weeks or couple months will go.”

Lilletvedt said she’s not aware of any long-term plans the Federal Reserve is making, and as far as she knows each bank can make its own decisions about what it wants to do in terms of giving out coins.

“Up to this point, we really haven’t discussed it too much internally,” she said. “But I do believe now it has becoming a topic of conversation.”

She said Independence Bank has no plans to restrict access to coins for its customers, but depending on how things go in the coming months, that may change.

“We’re just going to try to do the best we can with the amount of coin that we can get and maybe later we may need to put some restrictions on coin,” she said.

Stephanie South at the Wells Fargo branch in Havre said their company as a whole is rationing coins and things are going smoothly for now.

“We are fine, but we do need to plan ahead for the coming weeks,” she said. “Company-wide, we have had to ration our coins.”

South said the branch has been communicating with businesses and have implemented measures to address the issue.

“We’ve been in contact with our businesses here locally and have a plan in place,” she said, “we are hoping this is a short-term issue.”

She said a lot depends on what the Federal Reserve is doing as they work with the U.S. Mint, which Wells Fargo is also woking with, to keep the flow of coins as steady as possible.

Lilletvedt and South encouraged customers who have coins they want to cash in to come in and change it if they want to.

South said Wells Fargo will provide wrappers for the coins if needed.

Lilletvedt said the current policy of Independence Bank is to let customers convert coin to cash for free and charge non-customers, but she said, depending on how things go, they may begin offering that service to everyone.

So far Bear Paw Credit Union has not seen any effects from the coin shortage, Vice-president Gerry Veis said.

A representative of the U.S. Bank branch in Havre had no comment on the situation.

A representative of Stockman Bank in Havre said that branch is experiencing a coin shortage of its own, but additional details were not available before printing deadline this morning.


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