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Branch "All-Clear" Procedures

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I am trying to understand how other financial institutions handle the branch "All-Clear” signal. Do you require individual branch offices to have a unique All-Clear? How frequently do you recommend that the branch offices change the signal? Can you share opening and closing best-practice processes?

Opening and closing the bank is possibly the most vulnerable part of the workday for branch office personnel. It becomes easy for anyone to become complacent about something that we do day after day. Prudent practices need to address three critical goals: (a) protecting employees involved in opening the business, (b) protecting customers who might be nearby, and (c) preventing losses.

  • Every individual branch office should have unique all-clear signals.
  • We recommend that the all-clear signals should be changed at least once a month, or anytime that an employee is “terminated for cause.”
  • Opening procedures, without the use of specialized technology, include:

    • At least two employees should be scheduled to arrive separately and at the same time to open the business each morning.
    • Upon arriving, each employee should drive around the premises to investigate suspicious activity such as loitering individuals or suspicious vehicles.
    • The first employee should enter the building alone and disengage the alarm while the second employee remains outside.
    • Upon entering the bank, the first employee should check building entrances and windows for signs of tampering or forced entry.
    • The second employee needs to remain outside until they receive the “all clear” signal.
    • The first employee will act as the lookout for the second employee to ensure safe entry.
    • If either employee feels unsafe or notices an indication of danger, at any point, the employees should call 9-11.

Closing procedures include:

  • Physically lock the doors immediately after closing and do not open them for anyone under any circumstance.
  • One employee should be assigned to control customer access after closing time.
  • One employee should remain near a desk or cell phone in the event of an incident.

It is important to remember to train all of your branch staff, including those who work in back rooms and do not usually see customers, in the proper opening and closing procedures. Being prepared is the best way to keep everyone safe.

This Q&A originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline. For more information, sample issues, and to subscribe, click here or email

First published on 10/24/2021

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