Thursday, February 12, 2009

Banking 101

I started working at a bank (most of you know which one, but it will remain nameless on the blog) the summer before my sophomore year of college. I was a teller for 2 years, moved to new accounts for 1 year and for the past 2 years have worked in a division of the banks private services department. It has been a wonderful job and even now that I have Macey I work two 6 hour days and am very lucky to have such a flexible part-time job. There are a lot of things that I have learned about banking since starting over 5 years ago, but since I began as a teller, I quickly learned that banking is not for everyone...especially old people.

Here is one of my favorite examples that happens at least once a week:

Tellers have cash drawers. They stand behind the teller windows and are in a fairly secure location. New account representatives DO NOT have cash drawers at their desks. The money wouldn't be very secure in a desk, so obviously anyone sitting at a desk does not have cash. New account reps can run transactions, they just can't do any that either take cash in or give cash out...seeing as how they don't have a cash drawer. That being said, here is the scenario:

It's lunch time and the line at the bank is getting lengthy, I walk over to the line and say

"I can help anyone who has a non-cash transaction."

(This is where I usually get 6 blank stares, because I am obviously speaking a foreign language). I then say, I can run your transaction if you are just depositing a check or making a payment, just as long as your transaction doesn't involve cash.

"Oh, you can help me then."

As the client hands me their deposit I glance down to notice that they would like $30 cash back and have signed acknowledging that they would like cash back. I look up and say,

"Do you need cash back from this deposit?"

"Yeah, a 20 and a 10."

"You see, I don't have a cash drawer, so I can only run transactions that don't involve cash."

"Why did you say you could help me then?"

Aren't us bankers cruel...we are always trying to trick the clients, because we think it's just so much fun when they get upset with us :)

Also, banks are required to hold checks, we don't do it to be mean. If you have a $100 in your checking account and that is an average balance for you, you can't expect to deposit a $5,000 check and have the funds released to you the next day, especially if your account hasn't been opened that long. It takes a while for our bank to send the check you deposited to the bank it's from and then receive those funds in return, so if we immediately release those funds to you and you go out and blow $5,000 and then 4 days later, we find out that check is no good, we are out $5,000 so obviously we are going to hold your check until it clears...we aren't trying to be mean, we just have to make sure your check clears. I know, it sucks for the honest people out there who don't float checks, but trust me, it happens all the time. If any of you saw the movie "Catch Me if You Can," Leonardo DiCaprio is floating checks, so that is exactly why banks have to hold some deposits. And just because someone has a check that says "Cashier's or Official Check," doesn't mean it's actually guaranteed funds. We see fraudulent Cashier's checks all of the time (crooks are pretty smart, so while printing up these counterfeit babies, they decided why not throw some extra wording on there and make it look super official).

Sorry to vent, but next time you are at the bank remember to be nice to the employees :)


Jen Herem said...

ha-ha that is true and also kinda funny. I worked as a teller for Mtn. America for a few years and then at Zions until after I had nixen.

Brooke said...

Thank you for the insight of a banker!! Doesn't it just amaze you at the things people come up with! We have some crazy ones ourselves with tax stuff.

The Mallory's said...

I've never worked in a bank but I have worked retail. My biggest pet peave...
Me: Hi. How are you doing today?
Customer: I'm just looking.

Do they ever listen?

Brad & Britt said...

i have learned so much from you. thank you for teaching me!