I currently work in a bank. From my observations and experiences, here are some of my personal notes, one note for each month that I’ve been a teller:
1) It really helps when you have your deposit/withdrawal slips filled out before you come to the window. Or if you don’t know how to fill it out, please ask the teller; we would be more than happy to help you learn this simple skill. It’s not hard. Also, your debit card number is NOT your checking account number.
2) Two points in terms of ID:
a) Do not get mad when we ask for ID. It’s for your protection (would you really like me to give a few thousand dollars of YOUR money to someone else? I could, if you’re cool with that), and it helps us follow our policies and protect our bank from losses. Also, why would you not bring your ID into the bank? Don’t you carry your wallet in with you? I know my wallet is with me everywhere, and my license is always with me, regardless of if I’m driving or whatnot. To be honest, I wish ID was required for EVERY transaction, regardless of what the transaction is.
b) Your debit card does NOT serve as ID. For all I know, you stole that card.
3) If your dog eats one of your $100 bills, and poops it out… please don’t bring the pieces in (doesn’t matter if you washed them or not) and try to negotiate or exchange it. Just… don’t. We really don’t want to handle dog-poop money. Accept the loss, throw the bill into the trash, and move on. And maybe don’t let your dog near your loose cash or wallet… especially not your large bills.
4) Money can easily absorb certain odors. Marijuana especially. I disliked marijuana before working in the bank, but now that I handle pot money occasionally, I absolutely hate it. The smell makes me want to vomit. I don’t feel comfortable a) putting that money into my cash drawers with my non-smelly money, and b) giving that smelly money out to customers. And no, we do not have a washing machine for money.
5) Don’t get irritated when we can’t cash large checks (especially if you’re a non-customer). We don’t keep a kajillion dollars in our branches. Deposit the check and be patient with any holds it may require to make sure it’s good and clears, or open up an account with the check’s bank and the wait maybe won’t be for so long. Same rule applies to customers who want huge cash withdrawals. And don’t get all visibly worried and flustered, telling us that you don’t feel that comfortable with so much cash – it was your choice to want or need that much cash for whatever reason.
6) “Hunnit” is not how you spell “100” in words. And “ninty” is not “90”.
7) My job position (a “Float Teller”) calls for me to work among twelve branches in my district. I help out short-staffed branches, when someone calls in sick or is on vacation/leave. Sometimes my location changes while I’m driving to where I was originally expected to work that day. My job exists for a reason; if I wasn’t there, you’d likely be waiting in long lines for one or two tellers. So don’t say that it’s – and I’m directly quoting one customer I’ve had – “shitty customer service to have people like me”, and don’t get mad at me that everyone else knows you except for me. If you really expect me to perfectly memorize twelve different branches and ALL of their customers, regardless of how often I work at any of those branches… yeah, it’s not happening.
8) Bank fees exist for a reason. The bank is, bottom line, a business, and it has many expenses – buildings cost money to maintain, we have to get paid (and we really don’t make as much money as you want to believe… there’s a reason why I still live with my parents), we need to buy all the “free” DumDum suckers and coffee and cookies and pens you love to hoard, and we have losses due to frauds and other situations. That’s why we have monthly fees, and overdraft fees, and late fees, and fees for non-customers who cash our checks. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to work full-time for free and I doubt you’d want your bank to exist in the back of an old curtains-in-the-windows creeper van. If you don’t want fees, ask us how you can avoid them. We want to help you save money, and be safe and smart with your money.
9) Bank employees are human, just like you. And we also make errors. Of course we try our very best not to, but mistakes do happen. Please be understanding and patient with us.
10) Let us call you to our window when we’re ready. We sometimes need a few more seconds to clear our counter of cash or papers, clear our computer screens, and to organize our station. I don’t feel comfortable organizing all my cash with you standing in front of me and staring me down. Or maybe we’d like a quick moment to drink some water or coffee, or maybe we really REALLY need to pee and just can’t wait another moment. Or maybe that person in the drive-thru lane keeps pushing the buzzer so we need to help them before we hear that annoying buzzer again.
11) We have a crazy amount of turnover in banks. I can’t count the number of people who have come and gone in my district since I started back in September 2014. A lot of people don’t like the sales aspect, and some can’t handle the customers, or it’s management. And to be honest, the first two reasons are why I’m looking to leave banking. So please, don’t make comments about how you don’t recognize anyone and you hate having to learn new bank employees. Yes, we are all well aware, and we’re frustrated with the long interviewing and hiring and training processes, only to lose them in a few months. But it is what it is, so let’s just learn to roll with it together, okay?
12) We’re more than a little tired of the answer “only if you’re handing out free money” when we ask you if there’s anything else we can help you with.
13) Writing a check made payable to “cash” is confusing, and in my personal opinion, I don’t like it. That check could be negotiated by ANYONE. My suggestion is that you only use “cash” when you are making a withdrawal from your own account and you’re writing that check in the bank. Don’t use it when paying someone – write their name or business. It’s safer, in my opinion.
14) At least with the bank where I work, I can see the nicknames that you assign to your various accounts from online banking. The nicknames actually help us out a lot, as most people don’t even remember the last four digits of their accounts (I don’t, but I only have one of each for checking and savings – so I might say something like “okay, we’re depositing into the ‘Vegas Trip Savings’ account?” or “we’re transferring from ‘$chool bill$’?” and the customer will know which accounts I’m talking about… so if you have a nickname like “bitches n’ hoes”… yes, I can see it.
15) Talking on your phone – or, even worse, those stupid Bluetooth earpieces – at the teller window is incredibly rude. There are times where I will stop processing a transaction until you hang up your phone. Give me one minute of your time, just in case if I have a question of clarification for you.
16) PLEASE know EXACTLY what you are wanting to do by the time you get to the window. Don’t change your mind on how much cash you want to withdraw as I am in the middle of processing it, and don’t waste my time by watching you stalling in front of me. And the customers waiting in line behind you are also getting annoyed, I’m sure.
17) We really shouldn’t be cashing checks for you and then depositing them as cash into your account, making it all available immediately. Just wait for everything to be available tomorrow. I don’t like the people who already have their deposit slip filled out for the “cash” deposited, so then after I cashed their check it’s “oh, I forgot, I need $XX put into my account”.
18) “But I had money in my account at the time that I wrote the check” is not an acceptable answer for why your check was returned for non-sufficient funds. Also, there is no way for you to demand when a check can be negotiated.
… I think that’s about it for my personal opinions 😀