Being a Bank Teller
The job of a bank teller, I would assume in most people's eyes, is a lowly and easy job. I have been a bank teller at three different banks now. One was a wonderful bank, which merged with another bank and went downhill from there. I've been working at my current bank, which is pretty decent, for almost a year.
Dealing with people's money is no joke. Most people are at least some of the following regarding their money: secretive, protective, defensive, ignorant, vigilant, concerned, and funny. Many people utilize the vast array of programs that make managing their money easier, such as online banking where they can pay bills for free and view often a year of their statements with just a click or two. However, some people come to the bank several times each week and get print-outs showing their account activity. This takes time and uses paper and other resources, but I am happy to do it for our clients since it's part of my job.
Many people do not know their own bank account number. We can easily find this on our system with a few pieces of personal information, but sometimes our computers are down or offline. Although this is rare, it cn create sticky situations for those who don't have their information because when offline we cannot look up account numbers, balances, and other pertinent information.
At my branch, I work our drive-through lanes, of which we have four. Many times I work by myself and must handle all four lanes at once. Sometimes people become impatient when they wait six or seven minutes, but when I am assisting another customer who doesn't know their account number and must look that up before even processing their transaction, and then there is another customer waiting who got there first, it's inevitable that someone may have to wait in line for a few minutes. I have people treat me downright nasty sometimes, when they have only been waiting literally less than five or ten minutes on a busy Friday afternoon! If someone goes to the grocery store at their busiest time of day, wouldn't they expect to wait a couple minutes in line to check out and pay for their groceries?
I enjoy helping people with their finances, even if only on a small and almost insignificant level. My job is easy: I must be accurate, pleasant, and knowledgeable. That's basically it! ...What do I have to be knowledgeable about??
The United States has established sets of federal rules and regulations that all banks govered under the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) MUST follow. Much training and paperwork goes into insuring everyone who works in the bank knows the regulations. Audits, testing, and other examinations are carried out throughout the year to assure these practices are being followed. These regulations are set forth to protect the public and ensure everyone is treated equally, with fairness, and there are no surprises that will spring up regarding their money and assets.
There are a number of rules of which bank tellers must be aware. For example, Regulation DD, which is the Truth in Savings Act, requires all customers to receive disclosures informing them of when checks, cash, and other funds deposited into their account will be available for them to use, and other information as well. As a teller, I am constantly asked when a client's deposit will be available, or why their account received an overdraft charge.
Banks are required to be open a certain number of business days each month, unless a disaster or other extreme circumstance arises. Many full-time tellers, like me, work Monday through Saturday and only have off Sunday. Of course, working at a bank provides many perks such as federal holidays off. The list of federal holidays includes President's Day, Independence Day, Veteran's Day, and more, totaling, I belive, ten paid days off each year, which is about one a month on average.
Policies and Procedures
Every bank has their own set of policies and procedures, but they must, above all, adhere to all federal regulations. Some banks have a different number of days that they allow checks to clear. Most of the time a bank will make the funds available to the customer before the funds are drawn out of the person's account who wrote the check. The exception is for new customers, for those who often get checks returned, checks for large amounts, and similar situations. Paychecks are usually available on the very next day, but usually it takes at least two or three business days for the check to clear from the account it was written and to be received at the bank it was deposited.
Many banks require their tellers to meet a referral goal each month. It can be a pain to try to encourage non-account holders to open accounts or existing customers to get other products such as loans, credit cards, savings accounts, etc, but that's also part of my job. So, next time a teller asks if you'd like to open an account, please try to undersatnd it's a required part of their job, and most tellers are not trying to harass you or give oyu a hard time.
There are many other policies specific to each bank, such as how you greet and address clients, how to call out of work for sickness or other emergencies, dual control and sole control to access ATMs and other confidential information, and much more.
One of my friends was robbed at gunpoint about two months ago. It was a very traumatic experience for her, and, luckily, no one was harmed. As far as I know, the robber is still on the run and has not been captured, which is unfortunate. Sadly, with the economy still in shambles, it seems as though robberies are on the rise, and banks can be a very attractive target.
Robbery is always a risk when working with high vvolumes of money, but even at bars, convenience stores, and almost any other place, crimes such as armed robbery can occur. Banks train their personnel regarding how to act during robberies and procedures that must be followed, primarily for safety reasons not only for the bank staff, but also for any other customers that may be present during such tragedies. Banks set forth rules regarding opening and closing procedures but also a plethora of rules to follow throughout the day, every day to ensure safety and create a sense of confidence knowing staff will respond effectively during such situations.
Despite the dangers and sometimes unpleasant people that can bombard me from time to time, I like being a bank teller. As I said, it's a fairly easy job if you can be friendly and enjoy working with people and doing the same task repeatedly, but you also have to respond well to pressure, as it can get very busy and be demanding at times, and not all customers are polite. Banks often offer superb benefits, including good health insurance, paid sick time, vacation, and paid holidays.
personal experience, experiences from friends and co-workers