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Banking Office Hot Seat

If you are looking for a position with numerous diversified duties, great responsibility, high visibility, high pressure, and not-so-high salary, apply for the job of customer service representative.

Knowledge of products offered by the financial institution is a must, so attendance at meetings where these products are described will have to be fit into your schedule.

In addition, one should be able to answer questions about retirement for customers interested in IRA's, particularly around tax time in April. Knowledge of the tax law regarding IRA's is also helpful.

Up-to-the-minute rates on CD's should be on the tip of your tongue for persons interested in investing. And you should know that if over a certain amount is mentioned, this person should be referred to your trust officers. (Some "selling" of the idea may be required on your part, so best be prepared to do that too.)

Interviewing skills should be developed, so that in a four minute conversation with a person who wanders into your office, you can give the proper advice as to what kind of account this person should have, (money market, statement or passbook savings, single or joint accounts, minimum balance checking, regular checking, etc.). This knowledge and advice is necessary so that you can assure management that every customer you serve is completely satisfied with the service of your institution.

It may be necessary from time to time to give the tellers a hand-particularly with the sale of official checks or savings bonds. Your skills will also more than likely be needed if a Currency Transaction Form has to be completed for an "over $10,000 transaction." You should be able to fill this 4789 form correctly, as well as the "$3,000 and over" log for the sale of official checks, money orders and traveler's checks.

Oh, yes, traveler's checks-the sale of them is probably also your responsibility. Therefore, you should be aware of the scams concerning them, and the proper way to carry on a sale. (Never leave them unattended, never bring the whole box out of the vault, make sure they are all signed before the purchaser leaves your desk, etc.)

Opening new accounts is, of course, one of your major responsibilities. Identification is a must, and you should have a keen eye to spot counterfeit documentation and great listening and observation skills to affirm the truthfulness of the applicant's statements. Investigation skills are helpful in carrying out this part of your job. It would also help if you had a paralegal's experience on what documentation is necessary for different accounts-i.e. corporate, partnership, estate, etc.

Speaking of paralegal, you also need to know what to do with summons and subpoena if they are served on you. And what kind of information you can and cannot give to the law enforcement officer who is investigating a crime and has come into your institution for information. Terms like "financial privacy" and "invasion of privacy" should be familiar to you.

Entry into safe deposit boxes will also be part of your duties. In light of this, you must be able to differentiate between "deputy", "durable power of attorney", and other terms peculiar to this area. Rules regarding entry must be strictly observed.

Typing skills are a must, although speed is not a prerequisite. You will have to type a few letters, but most times your typing consists of filling out forms-like loan applications, supply requisitions, etc.

You may be asked to do miscellaneous jobs, like be a fire warden, or a United Fund volunteer, or attend a meeting on behalf of the financial institution, or arrange a luncheon, but these duties are best done on your own time. Of course, 26 cents a mile will be paid to you if you have to use your car for any of these. Reimbursement forms will be available-ask your manager.

Security is important in the banking office. So please keep an eye on every person who comes in the door. Your security officer will have special training sessions for you so you can be aware of the vulnerability of your position.

Oh, and one last thing-it is important, given the state of the financial industry, that we have a positive, upbeat attitude and appearance. Please keep that in mind as you greet everyone with a smile. Keep the atmosphere in the banking office as friendly as possible. We want people to like to come in.

Please send your qualifications and references along with your application.

Copyright © 1991 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 2, No. 8, 10/91

First published on 10/01/1991

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