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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An early pandemic problem that plagued businesses is back: not enough change to go around.

Why it matters: The pandemic broke America's coin flow. It has repercussions for millions that rely on it for daily transactions.

Driving the news: The Federal Reserve last week began limiting how many quarters and dimes a bank can order. That impacts the number of coins that banks can offer customers (like stores).

  • Of note: The limits are modest compared with those set at the height of the bottleneck last summer, which were eased earlier this year.

What's going on: Banks are ramping up coin orders. But how much the Fed has to offer is "below normal levels." Coin deposits have been falling for months.

  • Why do banks want more coins? The latest stimulus checks and the economic reopening could jolt customer needs. Plus, there's a regular uptick in demand this time of year, per a Fed spokesperson.

Flashback: When people locked down en masse, change stopped flowing as more opted for digital payments. That habit may be sticking.

  • Normally, for every 10 coins the Fed pushes out to banks, as many as eight end up back there — and the cycle continues.
  • But only half that number were coming back during the pandemic, says Hannah Walker, who heads up political affairs at the Food Industry Association.

Where it stands: "What we don't know is have spending habits changed such that maybe there are coin orders in excess of what they need to be?" says Chris Hill, CFO of Bankers’ Bank of the West.

  • Walker and Hill are part of the U.S. Coin Task Force — a group spurred by the pandemic. (Yes, they are meeting again.)

What to watch: Pushes to get spare change moving.

  • It's happening in Wisconsin: North Shore Bank on Monday started offering free coin-to-cash exchanges, so it can "put those coins back into circulation," says Craig Witz, vice president of branch banking.

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.