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New Account Applications - Easy as 1-2-3-4-5

In the last issue of BANKERS' HOTLINE we referred to the New Account Application with the numbers 1-2-3-4-5 on the bottom. Those numbers can be very useful to you, if used properly and serious attention is paid to them. Here's how.

Did you ever meet someone you instantly liked or disliked? You weren't sure of why-you just knew there was "something" about them. We can't "turn off" this reaction to people any easier than we could turn the tide. It's a gut feeling that just won't go away.

That same reaction occurs when a new account employee does the initial interview with applicants sitting at their desk. During the course of the interview and the filling out of the application the employee is either going to feel more and more comfortable with the applicant(s), or less and less comfortable. We call this gut reaction a "banker's sixth sense." If you think back, you'll surely remember this "feeling" at one time or another.

After the applicant leaves (or if there is a very strong negative feeling, before they leave), just pause for a few seconds and circle the number on the bottom of the application that best describes your "comfort level."

Circle 1 if you are absolutely comfortable. (We describe this in seminars as if your Mom or Dad were the applicants!)

Circle 2 if you are pretty darn sure that all is on the up-and-up.

Circle 3 if you think you'd be more comfortable with this account if there was extra verification of the information. You just have your reasonable doubts about this one.

Circle 4 if you really don't care for this application. You don't think this account is going to be good for your institution, and you'd like someone else's opinion-plus a lot of verification on information given by the person(s) applying for the account.

Circle 5 when you are SURE this is, in your opinion, not going to be a good account for you to open. As a matter of fact, if you can't refuse it immediately, you recommend that it should be closed and taken out of the system as soon as possible. (One of the least known facts in the banking industry is the ability to turn down accounts. You do not have to open an account for every applicant that walks in your door.)

We are looking at laws that probably will soon pass requiring us to open CERTAIN accounts for CERTAIN individuals unable to presently obtain accounts at financial institutions. This is not an across-the-board requirement. It will have very specific circumstances. (There will be more on this in a later issue of BANKERS' HOTLINE.)

In the meantime, the law has not changed that says that financial institutions have the right to choose their customers. It is the new account person's responsibility to make sure that the account being opened will be a safe and profitable relationship for their institution.

In your busy day, it is not always possible to take the time at the moment the application is taken to verify all the information. Or it may be that the verification takes place in some other department. In any case, your reaction, recorded as 1-2-3-4-5 on the application, will save you time in the long run by allowing verification energies to concentrate on higher risk accounts.

Pay attention to your banker's sixth sense! It's important! And it's easy as 1-2-3-4-5.

Copyright © 1990 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 1, No. 3, 3/90

First published on 03/01/1990

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