A Wisconsin bank is bringing change to their community by helping local businesses struggling because of the nationwide shortage of coins caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, the Community State Bank launched a Coin Buy Back Program which offers a $5 bonus for every $100 worth of coins turned in to any of its seven locations. Anyone who brings by coins, whether they’re a bank customer or not, can receive up to a maximum coin bonus of $500.
“We knew we needed to figure something out. We hate the idea of telling our customers, ‘No, we can’t give you one of the services we’re proud to provide,’ so we came up with a creative way to get things done,” Community State Bank Vice President Neil Buchanan told CNN. “Just because this hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it isn’t going to work – and it has already made a huge difference.”
Just days after launching the program, hundreds of people have dropped off their spare change, already resulting in an “incredible impact” on local businesses that were struggling because of the shortage, according to Buchanan.
Customers are not being charged for any coin counting transactions and will receive their money in cash or as direct deposits. Many have also dropped off spare coins without asking for anything back.
The coin shortage is one of the many consequences of the partial closure of the economy, which halted the flow of coins. As banks and businesses shuttered or changed the way they operate, there are now fewer coins reaching the public. Some national retailers – including Wawa and CVS – are asking customers to pay with exact change or offering programs through which customers can donate their change to charity.
Banks across the country are only receiving a small portion of their weekly coin order – and many are quickly running out. This affects local businesses as it can turn away customers who need change back.
“Our businesses have reached out just voicing their appreciation for their local bank coming up with a creative way to help them eliminate a challenge that many businesses across the country are facing,” Buchanan said.
The bank will continue their Coin Buy Back Program until there is no longer a demand.
CNN’s Scottie Andrew and Clare Duffy contributed to this report.