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Banking on that coin-counting machine PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOHN MORTON   
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 19:27

Port Washington State Bank will continue the service, free of charge

There’s nothing like the convenience of getting that loose change off of one’s counter top out of one’s hair, in exchange receiving pocket-friendly bills from a bank’s coin-counting machine.
Some banks count  for free, others charge a fee, and some — such as area BMO Harris Bank branches, which on July 31 removed their machines — want to avoid it.
The machines, meanwhile, are becoming more commonplace at retailers, but fees as high as 11.9% are associated with most of them.
Port Washington State Bank, still believing in the service, has announced it will continue to provide it, free of charge, to customers.
Its leaders see counting change as a valuable and fun way to promote savings, especially with youngsters. The Venaccio family is among those making the most of it.
“Growing up in a small farming community in North Dakota, I can still remember opening up my first savings account when I was about my son’s age,” Mike Venaccio, father of 6-year-old Ian, said as the youngster emptied a glass jar loaded with coins. A future purchase of a canoe is on his radar.
“It was really important to us that Ian had a similar experience to foster responsibility,” Venaccio added. “Ian loves bringing his change jar into the bank. We are really grateful for the positive experience that a community bank provides.”
Steve Schowalter, Port Washington State Bank president, agrees.
“We see a number of piggy banks turn into savings accounts, and if we can encourage kids to begin saving at an early age, we think that’s great,” he said. “We see a number of customers of all ages still put their coins aside to save for that something special — a vacation, new bike, or even a rainy day. Whatever the reason, we’re happy to handle their coins. After all, we’re a bank and we know it’s something our customers appreciate.”
Even the tellers get a kick out of it.
“It’s fun to see how the coins come in to us,” said Sara Caswell, who is in deposit operations with Port Washington State Bank and served a combined 10 years as a teller with the bank’s branches in Fredonia and Port Washington. “We see a lot of piggy banks, but among the favorites was a ceramic church where the coins always got stuck in the steeple.”
Coffee cans and liquor bottles serve as common depositories as well, but tube socks?
“Yes, we had that,” Caswell said. “You just hope they were washed.”
She heard about a large cooler on wheels once coming in — “I hope they used a scoop,” she said — and she once had a Fredonia man show up with several five-gallon pails full of coins.
“It added up to between $3,000 and $4,000,” Caswell said. “That’s a lot of money to sit on.”
Then they are the unintended deposits that make for interesting discoveries.
“You see those pressed coins kids have made at the zoo. Or if a shirt button falls off, some people will just throw it in with he coins,” Caswell said. “They can jam the machines, which isn’t good, but sometimes the items that don’t belong turn into a good thing.
“For example, I once found a wedding ring that someone had lost — it has been missing for three years, the person said. They had already bought a new one, but it was a lot of fun to be able to give that back to the customer.”

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