APRIL 17, 2012 – MT. PROSPECT, IL - Cummins Allison, the leading innovator and provider of coin, currency and check handling solutions, testified at a hearing today before the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology. The hearing was called to identify and address issues associated with potential cost-saving efficiencies related to the design, production, manufacturing and circulation of American coins.
Appearing today in behalf of Cummins Allison was John Blake, executive vice president of engineering. According to Mr. Blake, "Cummins Allison was honored to offer its recommendations to Congress on this timely topic. We support Congressional efforts to identify innovative ways to reduce coin production costs. As an intellectual property-driven engineering and manufacturing company that has worked closely with the financial industry for more than 125 years, we are uniquely positioned to understand the challenges related to cost reduction efforts and the importance of simultaneously maintaining coin quality."
Mr. Blake made several key points during his testimony:
Global Currency Changes –The U.S. is not alone in evaluating currency changes. Other countries have made changes to their coins. For example, last week the Canadian Central Bank announced changes to the Canadian $1 and $2 coins. The changes were to the material and appearance only, not size, and the implementation has been relatively smooth. One significant reason for this seamless transition is the Canadian Mint consulted very closely with industry and other stakeholders to ensure their decisions were as compatible as possible.
Congress And The Treasury Department Should Proceed Cautiously –To alter the size, design or content of a coin without comprehensive consultation and coordination with our industry and others could be disastrous for the American economy. In fact, a poorly conceived or implemented change could impact the worldwide integrity and value of American currency; disrupt public confidence and commerce; and cost the American government many, many times more than what might be saved as a result of the initial cost saving alteration.
Counterfeiting Issues Need Consideration –Coins manufactured from more common metals are easier to counterfeit. The integrity of the American monetary system is critical and any new coin, regardless of value, must have an appropriate level of counterfeit deterrent technology. The penny, like the larger denomination coins, should be as free as possible from the threat of counterfeiting.
Retrofitting Can Be Costly –Machinery manufactured by Cummins Allison and others can accommodate and process coins of like value that contain varied metallurgical properties. It is much more difficult and expensive, however, to alter or retrofit machinery to accommodate new or changed coins with a different diameter or thickness. Changes to diameter or thickness may require significant, expensive changes to current equipment, or the outright replacement of equipment. If coin design or content changes are orchestrated hurriedly or without regard for current equipment and the many stakeholders, the currently reliable U.S. coin circulation infrastructure could be adversely impacted or fail altogether.
Doug Mennie, president of Cummins Allison added, "We strongly encourage the development of a government and industry task force to carefully review options and alternatives from conception through circulation. This will help assure that all technical, scientific, commercial and public issues are thoroughly addressed early on and at every stage of the process. When introducing a new or altered coin, the transition must be nearly seamless for the coin circulation system and the public. All stakeholders such as the banking, vending, armored carriers and retail industries, as well as currency processors, government agencies and others must collectively work to fully raise and address issues that are vital to each and every component of the coin circulation system."
About Cummins Allison
Cummins Allison is a global leader in developing technologies which count, sort and authenticate currency. The U.S.-based company has a 125-year heritage of leadership in technology and product innovation and currently serves the majority of financial institutions worldwide, as well as leading organizations in retail, casinos, law enforcement and government. The company holds more than 350 U.S. patents and has ongoing research and development (R&D) investments double the industry average. Cummins Allison is headquartered near Chicago, IL with R&D centers near San Diego, CA and Philadelphia, PA and wholly owned subsidiaries in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and France. The company also has an extensive sales and service network with more than 50 offices in North America and is represented in over 70 countries. For more information, visit cumminsallison.com.
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