Wells Fargo Bank is following an industry trend and pulling the plug on coin-sorting machines in its Minnesota branch lobbies. They all will be gone in the state within a few months, a company official said Wednesday.
“Our contract with our coin-counting service recently ended, and we anticipate that the removal of coin-counting machines will occur in Minnesota branches in the coming months,” said Wells Fargo spokesman John Hobot.
“We understand that a small group of customers use and enjoy the coin counters,” Hobot added, saying that branches are providing coin wrappers as an option so customers can roll their change for deposit.
“We apologize for any inconvenience,” he said.
When asked whether tellers can sort coins for customers using a machine in back, Hobot said, “Customers will need to roll their coins once the machines [in the lobby] are removed from branches.”
Business customers with much larger quantities of coins can “enroll in our large coin-deposit service that we offer,” the spokesman said.
Two other banks with a major presence in Minnesota, U.S. Bank and TCF, continue to have sorters in some of their Minnesota branch lobbies and said Thursday they have no plans to end that service.
Wells Fargo’s machines are being removed gradually across the Twin Cities and state, with one taken out recently from a branch near W. Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue S. in Minneapolis.
An employee there told a customer to go a mile or so east to a sorter in a branch office near Lake and Nicollet Avenue.
A page on San Francisco-based Wells Fargo’s website, last updated in April 2016, said the coin-counting machines “are primarily located in Colorado and Minnesota.” Hobot declined to go into specifics about the demise of sorters in states outside Minnesota, other than to say, “The removal of the coin-counting machines was a companywide decision and not specific to any one state or region.”
TCF spokesman Mark Goldman said Thursday that coin sorters are at most of his bank’s 90 branches throughout Minnesota.
“Our customers tell us they like the convenience of having coin-sorting machines,” Goldman said. “One of the challenges of accumulating coins is finding a way to quickly and easily turn that money into savings. ... Unlike some fee-for-service coin machines you see in retail locations, our customers know they can walk into one of our branches and not incur a fee for this service.”
U.S. Bank spokeswoman Teri Charest said the machines provide “a service customers appreciate, and while we don’t have them in every branch, families often know where to find them.
“We’ve seen a few piggy banks turning into savings accounts. If we can get kids to think about saving at an early age, we’re doing the right thing.”
The sorters, roughly the size of a free-standing ATM, open wide and swallow coins from customers’ jars or cans.
They swirl the change about and kick out a receipt for cash at the teller counter.
Banks typically offer the service for free for account-holders and charge a fee to walk-ins.
Similar fee-based machines can be found at retail locations. Machines that belong to Coinstar, based in Bellevue, Wash., are in several Wal-Mart stores in the Twin Cities area.
Banks across the country have been eliminating machines in recent years, either because of the expense or because of a decline in demand for the service as coin change from cash purchases has dwindled. Customers also have complained about sorters shorting them.
Capital One removed the machines early last year. TD Bank did the same in May 2016.