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Eliminating Branch Opening Procedures and Time-Delay Vaults

There is pressure from some of our Retail Management to eliminate our Branch Opening procedures. We currently have one associate wait in their vehicle while another goes into the branch and does a complete check. The all clear is given to the waiting associate by actually walking to the waiting vehicle, so if the all clear is not given the waiting associate can depart and summon help. Also, there is some Retail Management talk about eliminating our 15 minute time delay for the Vault. Needless to say, we in the Security Division see these proposed changes as risky. Do you have any thoughts or source materials that might help us illuminate the security risks of these possible operational changes?

Answer by Andy Zavoina:

While you are required to have opening procedures, there are no specifics as to what those have to be. Yours are the "industry standard" and promote the safety of the employees (less maybe the first one in).12 CFR Section 208.61(c)(1) The security program shall:
(i) Establish procedures for opening and closing for business and for the safekeeping of all currency, negotiable securities, and similar valuables at all times;

This may not be the opinion of my employer and should not be relied upon as legal advice.


Answer by Dana Turner:

Although you don't state why the sales folks want to change or eliminate the existing procedure, I suspect that they've told you that it's inconvenient . . .

Your existing branch opening procedure is industry standard -- maybe even a little more -- because your first employee walks to the other employee's car. Eliminating an accepted safety procedure means replacing it with another one that is equal in protection. I hope that you hold out and keep your existing procedure.

As for the time delay, I've heard many Security Officers state that they've eliminated it for safety reasons. The types of robberies being committed today are different than when that practice was originated. I'm still undecided as to whether to recommend that practice -- or not.


Answer by Barbara Hurst:

The fact of the matter appears to be that by sticking to the opening procedures you have managed to incorporate better than average safety for your opening employees. By moving to less secure procedures may be endangering people unnecessarily. I guess what I mean is - it isn't broken. Don't fix it! As for the time delay, I too have heard both pro and con. But what we've found is that the time delay, to be effective as a deterrent against bank robbery, has to be advertised. You need a sign on your wall - very visible - that says your safes are on 15 minute time delay. Banks that have those signs on the wall swear by them. Bank robbers will not stick around for 15 minutes waiting for the safe to open. Instead, they'll look for a bank without the time delay locks.

First published on 4/21/03

First published on 04/21/2003

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