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#2149814 - 10/13/17 10:11 PM Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal?
Anonymous
Unregistered

I'm a teller at a small credit union branch whose employees are a tight knit group. This is my first job being a teller. It happened once that my drawer was over less than a dollar at closing, and the other tellers (including the head teller) tried to pressure me into not reporting it so that I'd balance. They actually told me it didn't matter and would make our branch look bad, and for less than a dollar. I reported it anyway cause I'm a rule follower and I didn't want to jeopardize my job, especially for less than a dollar.

Then it happened more recently that I bought money from the vault and there was a wrong denominational bill mixed into the packet. Coincidentally, it shorted me the exact amount I know my coworker was short earlier this week (but said she "figured out" before close). The head teller doesn't verify the money we sell to the vault, by the way. Unfortunately, I didn't discover the problem upon receipt of the order. I did run the money through the counter when I got it, but I rebundled it and didn't need to open that packet til hours later.

The head teller didn't believe me that it came from the vault. More to shut me up, I think, she went to my computer and withdrew the amount I was short from her personal account and didn't take it from my drawer, thereby "fixing" my problem.

I'm really uncomfortable about this but since it's my only experience tellering... how bad is this???

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#2149815 - 10/13/17 10:34 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Anonymous
Unregistered

Adding: the bundle given to me wasn't from whoever the credit union purchases money from. Those packets are counted and then banded with a denominational wrap. The money our tellers sell to the vault is just rubber banded. The packet I received in this incIdent was rubber banded. Which I know now I must check very carefully.

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#2149817 - 10/13/17 10:43 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
rlcarey Offline
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rlcarey
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 83,021
Galveston, TX
Stick to you guns and if it doesn't get better or they give you too much grief - get out and make sure you make a full report to the HR individual. This is outright fraud on the part of these employees. If you happen to be over - what do they say you should do - pocket the money?? That is felony theft from an insured financial institution.
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#2149818 - 10/13/17 11:15 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Anonymous
Unregistered

I don't know what they expected me to do with my small overage that one day.

I'm really curious is it's common for tellers to be so fast and loose with the rules. I can see it happening but I'm personally too uptight to ever pull a stunt. But a stunt was pulled at my computer and with my drawer. I feel really uneasy about it.

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#2149819 - 10/13/17 11:21 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
CULady Offline
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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 495
WA
Go and talk to your manager, whoever is above the head teller. And, going forward, DO NOT let them on to your computer or have access to your drawer. EVER. Hopefully there is good camera coverage to show that the head teller was the one on your station.

Just like with any other job, there are rule followers (like me!) and there are others that are just there for the paycheck and get by.

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#2149835 - 10/14/17 11:02 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Greg Offline
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Joined: May 2004
Posts: 833
Michigan
The practice is called "force balancing" and it's not allowed by any bank I've ever seen. On the questionnaires I complete for the auditors there are questions specifically asking if we allow force balancing and what measures we take to prevent it. It isn't a minor thing.

So what to do?

Document everything. Note the day you were off and the amount, Security should be able to tie it to the head teller's account. Make a full report to the bank's security officer.

At our bank it's a termination offense- one time, any amount and you're gone.
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#2149837 - 10/15/17 12:45 AM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Greg
Anonymous
Unregistered

Thanks for the responses. Like I said, this is a small, tight knit group. They socialize outside of work and many have been there five, ten years or more. So going to management feels like the nuclear option that also defeats my purpose of wanting to remain employed. Ugh. "Forced balancing" (didn't know that term... thank you) is not allowed here, of course. It was spelled out in the training. I'm just really wishing I hadn't found myself in this position but here I am. At this point, I'll simply document but keep it to myself.

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#2149851 - 10/16/17 12:50 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
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Elwood P. Dowd
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21,939
Next to Harvey
Tell your associates that you visited a banking website and learned that "force balancing" is an offense that could and should get a teller fired in most banks. You just don't want to develop any bad habits.

Banks know that anyone who takes a nickel out of the drawer to balance is a liar. What they don't know and don't want to wait and find out is just how dishonest that person is.

P.S. Any auditor or branch manager worth a morning cup of coffee knows what's happening if all tellers balance every day.
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#2149893 - 10/16/17 03:09 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
burke116 Offline
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Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 560
RVA
I would add that when someone eventually finds out this is happening (audit staff, branch operations staff) you could be lumped in with the offenders if you knew it was happening but never said anything in an attempt not to get anyone fired. Does your company have an anonymous whistle blower hotline set up? I would be calling this and protecting my job. Force balancing, pulling money from your personal account to cover shortages, these are all very serious.

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#2149913 - 10/16/17 04:05 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Norman Paperman Offline
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Norman Paperman
Joined: Aug 2012
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48.934476, -114.343735
When I was a teller you got canned for "force-balancing". Regardless of the value, over or short, if you force-balanced the drawer it was immediate termination.

You are right to be concerned.
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#2149992 - 10/16/17 08:27 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Just Jean Offline
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Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 582
USA
If you want to know what happens to institutions with practices as described above, read the enforcement actions of the various regulators including banks. Even if you would like to become famous, this is not the way to get noticed.

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#2150006 - 10/16/17 08:52 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
OldeTymeBanker Offline
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Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 55
I will tell you what slippery slope this kind of stuff leads to: I once had a teller report to me that whenever her manager wanted to go buy a snack (it was a grocery store branch), she would tell the teller to just give her the money out of her drawer and write it off that night, as we don't discipline for anything under a certain dollar amount anyway. Perhaps this helps you see how this is stealing. It is just one step in having lax procedures that always seems to lead to more. And eventually a larger amount of money will be missing and everyone will be pointing fingers to prove it wasn't their fault that proper controls were not followed.
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#2150024 - 10/17/17 01:13 AM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Rocky P Offline
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Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,642
Florida
In audit we've seen where a teller would "force balance" or "plug" a number, only for proof to catch the mistake. It's embarrassing to be caught by surprise and come up with a story to a different audience.

A teller once admitted that the cup with change on her desk was from when she was over. She used it to offset shortages. If it got too high, she would treat herself to lunch. She said that on her last day and couldn't figure out why she was escorted out.
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#2150039 - 10/17/17 12:53 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Anonymous
Unregistered

Report the activity to the Supervisory Committee - They are typically tasks with performing surprise cash counts so this is right in their realm - Plus, they are the designated group where things like this should be reported. A phone number or email should be on the Credit Union's website or Annual Letter or in the Lobby. It's got to be somewhere.

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#2150047 - 10/17/17 01:19 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
swiggles Offline
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swiggles
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Posts: 7,343
At my former bank, a machine dispensed and took in all cash. The tellers never had to count anything.....couldn't take overages out or add cash to cover a shortage.......worked pretty well.
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#2150279 - 10/18/17 04:14 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Anonymous
Unregistered

The whole lot of tellers would be gone in a CU minute if the f.i. is worth working at. Document everything you have had happen to you and include names and dates. Make copies for yourself and bring this to management and/or supervisory committee at the CU. Can't imagine that those involved would not be fired immediately. If not, get out of there!

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#2150582 - 10/20/17 05:48 AM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Anonymous
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I've never worked in the branch, but the revelations here surprises me. Why would any tellers not report if its short or over, and just force balance it out?

Are they forced to work overtime until it gets fixed or something?

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#2150588 - 10/20/17 10:40 AM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Rocky P Offline
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Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,642
Florida
Anon, tellers are paid for accuracy. If a teller has out of balance (even if it is small amounts or being over) it can mean verbal warnings, written warnings and termination.

Also, if there is an overage, it means that a customer was probably short.
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#2150592 - 10/20/17 12:42 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
edAudit Offline
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edAudit
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 4,796
You are here
I worked in one bank that did not believe in counting rolled coin. There was no penalty for short/over under $5.00. the philosophy was that it cost more to look for it than it was worth.

Worked in another that tellers stayed hours to find pennies as the belief was that you shorted a customer.
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#2150630 - 10/20/17 04:08 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Anonymous
Unregistered

Yes, and the whole paying teller + supervisor to work extra time to find a small outage is the reason for the minimal write off with no disciplinary. It makes zero sense to have two, maybe three people working for 30 min trying to find a $4.50 cash outage. Additionally, if a roll of coin was short $0.02 where is the efficiency in having the teller take the time to write out a debit to a client's account for it? Recount the cash once and if not found write it off. However, you have some tellers who are so concerned about their perceived accuracy they cannot handle this, and this is where they start forcing the drawer into the balance.

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#2150660 - 10/20/17 05:49 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
JacF Offline

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Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,719
PA
It makes sense to have different tiers of research and resolution effort depending on the size of the difference. But the bank should still show all of the differences (even the tiny ones) instead of force-balancing.

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#2150777 - 10/23/17 02:30 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Anonymous
Unregistered

Another anon here: Finding the wrong denomination in a strap is a big deal. Having no dual control on what employees put into the vault is a big deal. That other teller defrauded the bank, or stole, or however you want to put it. In your shoes, I would make an anonymous complaint to your employer's Audit Chair.

We once had a branch manager engaged in similar activity. She alone (with no dual control) was walking into and working in the vault. She was the boss so no tellers reported her. One day a teller saw the branch manager walking out of the vault with her hand in her pants pocket. The branch manager yanked her hand out of her pocket, and a scrap of a torn bill strap fell to the floor. Finally, this was enough to make the teller call somebody at the main office, in tears, frightened for her own job. Branch manager was fired and prosecuted for theft. Had been stealing for months.

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#2231128 - 02/15/20 01:46 AM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
Anonymous
Unregistered

This is terrible procedure. Things should be dual control meaning anything sold to the vault should be verified by the teller selling and another seller. The vault should have its own stamp to confirm that any bands in the vault actually belong to that vault. And each teller should have their own stamp that way you know whose name it was at the point it was sold to the vault. The vault should also be balanced by two personnel; typically a key and combo. I say go elsewhere because this bank is very shady.

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#2231190 - 02/18/20 06:26 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
ItNeverEnds CRCM Offline
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Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 995
Looking for my sanity
As others have said, you need to document everything and call both the Credit Union Supervisory Committee and the Security Officer immediately. I would not go to anyone in the branch, because it sounds like they're all involved. This is force balancing, theft and fraud. These lax controls are going to blow up one day and everyone that was involved is going to get burned, you included if you say nothing. In addition to the force-balancing, the fact that a bill to be miss-strapped from the vault shows the lax controls/lack of dual control. And for the head teller to pull money out of her own account and put it in your drawer is so beyond unacceptable I can't put into words how bad that is.
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#2231198 - 02/18/20 07:14 PM Re: Teller hijinx... is this common? Is it a big deal? Anonymous
rlcarey Offline
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rlcarey
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 83,021
Galveston, TX
I would not get too excited about this thread - it is three years old.
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The opinions expressed here should not be construed to be those of my employer: PPDocs.com

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