From Opening to Closing
Early in the morning the people who open the bank check both outside and inside the bank to ensure no one is hiding anywhere, no suspicious people are around, and the like. We have certain security procedures to follow when opening a branch to minimize risks to employees.
Once it's been determined safe to enter the branch, I log in to my computer and we open the vault containing our cash boxes for the day. As a teller, I open the night depository under what's called dual control, which means it must be done with two people present to maintain the integrity of the bank. The night depository, or night drop, is a compartment located outside the bank where business can drop off their deposits after banking hours. The deposits drop into an alarmed vault. At our bank the night drop has both a key lock as well as a combination. One employee is in possession of the key and the other knows the combination, thus keeping true to the dual control concept.
The night depository bags are logged into our computer and then processed. Our night drop bags must be processed before the bank opens the lobby for business at 9 am. Our drive-thru opens at 7:30 in the morning on weekdays, so while we process the night drops we also wait on customers at the drive up window.
During Lobby Hours
While the lobby is open, tellers are obligated to not only wait on customers who enter the lobby and drive-thru, of course, but also to answer the telephone. The telephone constantly rings and sometimes we can help the person on the phone by providing information regarding their deposits, their account balance, and a plethora of other questions or concerns the phone client may have. However, at times we must refer the client to another employee in the bank such as a loan officer; customer service who handles account problems, stop payments, opening accounts, etc; the mortgage lender; or another employee to help the customer.
It can be very hectic handling a high volume of both walk-in customers, drive-thru customers, and telephone customers. Some of the transactions I process on a daily basis include deposits and withdrawals from accounts (including cashing checks), loan payments, safe deposit box payments, and others.
Tellers at bank I work for must balance their drawer daily, which means counting all the cash in their possession and matching it to their totals for the day, or all cash in and cash out. We also have an ATM teller in charge of the automated teller machine who must run the reports for the ATM, make sure it has enough cash, process the ATM deposits, and other duties.
At my branch I am custodian of something called a TCD, or teller cash dispenser. The TCD is very handy when a customer wants to cash a check, for instance, and wants all hundreds, but the teller does not have the proper cash or denominations to perform the transaction to the client's request. The teller can "buy" money from the TCD to get exactly what they need for their transaction. I must audit the TCD weekly by counting every piece of cash in the machine. I also run reports to match the cash in the he TCD daily as the balancing procedure specifies.
We are required to scan, or create an electronic image of, our work at a special computer each day. All our work must be facing the same direction, not upside down, and must be neat with no staples, clips, or any other extraneous paperwork.
At my bank, at 2 pm we do what is called a cutover, or turnover, to the next business day. This is so all work can be processed in a timely manner and be shipped where needed, if required, and items processed for collection and whatnot.
End of the Day
All confidential information must be secured and locked at the end of the day. This is to ensure customer privacy and to protect everyone. We have a cleaning crew that comes in several nights a week, and we also always have the slight chance of being broken into or robbed, so we never would want sensitive information just laying around for anyone to see. We must also lock any cash and negotiable items in vaults and locked drawers to the degree required. Certain items, such as cash and official checks, money orders, and gift cards, are required to be placed in a fireproof vault each day when leaving the branch, and will be removed each morning for the start of the business day.
Vaults are set on timers and logged on a sheet. This is also done under dual control. All bank vaults have at least two timers. We have two main vaults in my branch. One vault has two timer dials and the other vault has three dials. One teller sets one dial and the other teller sets the remaining dials to a specified number of hours. This is our way of performing checks and balances to make sure the vaults will open in time for business! If the tellers set the dial too far or for too many hours, the vaults will not open until all the time has passed.
We then set the alarm for the bank and leave quickly. We have special security procedures to follow when exiting the branch that are not supposed to be shared.
More about Being a Teller
All tellers have authority limits. Some tellers, typically those who are new, have very low cash limits of only $500 or so, and must get approval before cashing checks. Other tellers have higher limits, but if they encounter anything beyond their limits they require approval before completing the transaction. For check cashing and even some deposits, we must verify the identity of those presenting the item(s).
Sometimes we require identification if we are unfamiliar with that person.
Also, sometimes we are prompted or required to place holds on certain items. We must use common sense, look at the client relationship, follow bank and federal guidelines, and follow the prompts of the computer system often times. For example, if someone has only one account in which account balance is normally $100 and they are depositing a check for $3500, the computer will often prompt or require a hold to be placed on the funds to ensure the check is legitimate and is not returned, thus ensuring the bank gets the money it is accepting. Along those same lines, if a person's average account balance is $20,000 and they are depositing a check for $5000, it's not likely that a hold would be placed on that deposit. We look at the length of time the client has had an account with us, the number of accounts, and other factors when determining things such as holds and check cashing.
We have many rules to follow regarding confidentiality of our clients, check cashing guidelines, and federal rules and regulations to which we must adhere daily with every single transaction.
There is much more to my day then what I wrote here, but I am trying to keep it very basic and in layman's terms, so to speak, so I don't confuse anyone! I hope you've enjoyed hearing about a typical day in my work life as a bank teller!
If you enjoyed this piece, please visit my article Being a Bank Teller to learn more about the training that is required for all bank tellers and more. Thanks.