Due to the unprecedented times brought on by COVID-19, the Federal Reserve will suspend the holiday currency ordering periods in 2020. The Federal Reserve Banks continue to have sufficient currency reserves on hand to meet the needs of depository institutions.

Reserve Banks are focusing on meeting increased demand for currency and coin

While Reserve Banks have traditionally provided holiday currency ordering periods on an annual basis, the suspension of the holiday currency ordering periods this year will enable Reserve Banks to continue focusing on their core mission of meeting daily demand for currency and coin.

Reserve Banks continue to pay out large amounts of new currency

Due to COVID-19, demand for currency remains significantly higher than in more normal times, and Reserve Banks continue to pay out higher amounts of currency. In recent months, Reserve Banks supplemented large portions of currency payouts with new notes to meet this demand. As a result, depository institutions received high volumes of new notes in all denominations. The significant increase in new notes paid out into the market contributed to the decision to suspend the holiday currency order.

Background on holiday currency ordering

In order to operate efficiently and to minimize printing costs for new currency, Federal Reserve Banks fill orders for currency with fit notes first and then with newly printed notes. Typically, in advance of the winter holiday season, the Federal Reserve offers two separate week-long periods during which depository institutions can place special orders for new currency, in addition to their regular orders for currency, which are filled with fit notes. The Reserve Banks offer these special ordering periods because the amount of new notes depository institutions receive in their orders throughout the year is typically small. As the supply chain returns to normal, we will reassess the holiday currency ordering periods at the beginning of 2021 and communicate any changes.

For questions related to this change, please contact your local Cash Services Department.

If you know of others in your organization who should be notified of these types of operational changes, please share this article and encourage them to register to receive updates.

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Check out the Education and Resources article in this issue for information about the four remaining 2020 bank holidays.