Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canada’s
fourth-largest bank by assets, is to roll out free coin counting
machines in all of its new branches, as well as in a number of its
refurbished outlets across the country.

The high-speed machines are able to count
Canadian coins at a rate of up to 4,000 per minute. A receipt for
the total is provided and can be exchanged at the branch for cash,
or deposited into a BMO bank account.

BMO will not charge for use of the coin
counters; transaction fees for a similar service from Coin star are
currently around 9.8%.

BMO currently has 14 coin machines in
Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, and plans to more than double
the number by the end of the year, rolling out coin machines in
additional provinces including Alberta, Saskatchewan and New

Frank Techar, President and CEO, Personal
and Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal, said: “The recent
economic downturn has changed the way people think about money.
They want to grow savings and invest wisely and using a piggy bank
doesn’t cut it.

“We are inviting all Canadians to come in
and turn their coins into cash, and talk to us about any of your
financial needs.”

The initiative coincides with the bank
promoting its BMO Youth Discounted Banking Plan.

Customers opening such an account with
C$25 in coins or cash will benefit from BMO crediting the account
with a matching bonus credit of C$25.

Free coin-counting machines, dubbed Penny
Arcades– were one of the most popular retail bank marketing
initiatives promoted by US-based Commerce Bancorp, the US lender
founded in 1973 by Vernon Hill with one branch, nine staff and $1.5
million in capital.

In 2007, Commerce was snapped up by
Canada’s Toronto Dominion in a 75 percent stock and 25 percent cash
transaction valued at $8.5 billion.

Last November, TD ended free coin counting
for non-customers across its US-based branch network; non-TD
-customers are now levied a 6% transaction fee.