Most banks pass on getting new $1 coins
: Why is it that the new Washington dollar coins have been released on the mainland, yet none are at the banks in Hawaii, including my bank, the Bank of Hawaii? Rumor has it they didn't want to spend the money to ship them over. Did any banks order them?
Answer: First Hawaiian Bank did order the newly minted dollar coins, but it appears to be the only local financial institution that did.
The Washington coins were the first to be released, on Feb. 15, as part of the Presidential $1 Coins Program.
The bad news is that "we had a huge run on them" and the coins are no longer available through the bank, a spokeswoman said.
Financial institutions are able to order only an initial inventory of such newly minted coins, according to First Hawaiian, after which you have to get them through normal circulation or direct from the U.S. Mint.
First Hawaiian plans to bring in an initial supply of all subsequent coins, but they will be made available only to First Hawaiian customers on a first-come basis.
There is a cost involved in shipping the coins, but that is not the only reason Bank of Hawaii did not order the Washington coin, spokesman Stafford Kiguchi said.
In the past, Bankoh "occasionally" brought in specially minted coins, but found out that most coin collectors want "uncirculated" coins, he said.
"The coins that we order and receive from the Federal Reserve are considered 'circulated,' " Kiguchi explained. Collectors would need to purchase "uncirculated" coins through a coin collector or from the U.S. Mint, he said
A "small number" of circulated Washington coins are turning up in some branches, Kiguchi said. You can call the Main Branch at 538-4143 to see whether any are available.
We checked with a couple of other banks and confirmed they do not have the coins.
"At this time, we do not plan to maintain a supply of these coins," said Dawn Dunbar, spokeswoman for American Savings Bank.
Central Pacific Bank also does not plan on bringing in any of the presidential dollar coins. "For us it was a question of whether we wanted to make a long-term commitment as different coins are being planned over a 10-year period," said spokeswoman Ann Takiguchi.
The U.S. Mint will be issuing four coins a year, honoring presidents in the order they served.
To order, check www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/$1coin. A roll of 25 coins costs $35.95, plus shipping.
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