The cost of coin

“Find a penny pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck”

We’ve all known since we were kids that pennies were good luck, but they’re not worth much more than that nowadays.

Save up all of those pennies over a lifetime and you might get a decent amount. But then, where do you keep them?  Water jugs in your garage, the ones that are too heavy to move? Those coins are barely worth the effort. Then you have to put them into rolls in order to bring them to a financial institution.

So what are you to do with it? Lug it to a Coinstar and get charged for all of your “good luck” and savings? What a bummer. We feel the same way.

The problem

Back in 2015, we were doing just that, lugging coin only on a bigger scale. We had a huge vault in the back (at the old Artesia branch) that held all of those good luck pennies and more.  The coin took up the majority of our vault, they were heavy, dirty, and every cent of them had to be accounted for daily.  In order to cash them in, they would have to be picked up by the Treasury aaannnnnd we would pay a hefty fee for them to transport that coin, just like your Coinstar fee.

As a cooperative, our job is to ensure we’re using our member’s money in a way that best benefits ALL members.  Now unless you have a vending machine business, we can almost guarantee that cost of coin handling wasn’t beneficial to you and our membership. Only a very, very small percentage of our membership were doing coin transactions and they were coming to us because the big banks were charging them to handle coin. We didn’t want to charge a coin handling fee because fee’s suck.

The solution

Here’s what we did want to do- get rid of the cost of coin. We didn’t want to pay for real estate on a bigger building to hold a vault filled with coin, we didn’t want to pay for coin handling through the Federal Reserve and staff, and we didn’t want to pay and maintain a coin counter machines (those things are LOUD! ..and dirty). What we did want to do, and always want do is serve our members. Our solution, stop handling coin. WHAT!? but you’re a Bank (*credit union.) How can you get rid of your coins?

Example 1. You have a check for $100.34 that you would like to cash, now what?

Answer: Do you really want the .34c in your purse, wallet, car console, junk drawer, or couch cushions? Or, how about we deposit that .34c into your savings account for you instead.

Example 2. I’ve got a ton of change I’d like to put into my account, how do I do that?

Answer: We know a company that handles coin really well and you don’t have to roll it, it’s Coinstar, and they’re everywhere. But wait, they charge you! We got you, take a picture of your Coinstar receipt and we’ll pay your fee, directly to your account.

Example 3. I want to cash my payroll check but keep the change, I don’t want it.

Answer: We can’t keep the change but we can donate your change directly to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles through CU4Kids if you would like.

And Wa La, no more coin. We’ve eliminated the cost of coin for our whole membership and added a benefit by reimbursing Coinstar fees.  There’s a solution to every problem, even if your problem is having too many lucky pennies.