At the height of the financial crisis in 2009, Janet Yellen told her colleagues things were so bad that people were literally breaking into piggy banks to get cash.
The Federal Reserve chair, who headed the central bank’s San Francisco district at the time, tried to lighthen the mood a bit at an otherwise grim Federal Open Market Committee meeting in March.
“Another disturbing sign of how tough things are getting is that people appear to be breaking into their piggybanks to make ends meet—the Cash Product Office reports huge increases in the amount of coins being brought into our inventory,” she said then to the laughter of her colleagues. “The December inventories of quarters and dollar coins were up more than 50 percent from 2007, and even pennies were up nearly 25 percent.”
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