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One Person Operating A Branch

We are acquiring another institution in 2019. Currently, there are two branches in two different towns. The main branch has a full staff, but the second branch is located just down the road in a town of 300 people and is only staffed with one person, five days a week. The teller is secure behind all glass, but there is no dual control and no cameras. The transaction numbers do not warrant another person there but we want to be as safe as possible. What are your suggestions for things we can do to make this branch as safe as possible for the one employee?

The other institution left you with a real problem, as we recommend you never operate a branch with less than four staff members. We have several recommendations for you to consider:
• Remove the teller from this location and install an Interactive Teller Machine. This will allow you to staff the branch with a call center at your main office and even to expand to other locations just by installing an ITM. With installing an ITM, we have several different security options for you to consider.
• In our opinion, the teller is not safe at this time. While the teller might be okay during the work day, they become vulnerable at closing and opening. You have described no system to protect this staff member during those times. There are numerous applications on the market to help in this situation.
• Cameras are an industry standard and not having them places you in a bad position in a lawsuit. While your teller might be safe behind the bullet-resistive glass (assuming it is bullet-resistive), your account-holders are not. If an account-holder gets hurt, mugged, or any other problem while in your lobby we foresee major problems in a lawsuit. For example, if a robber enters your branch and the teller refuses to give them cash, the robber could grab a customer and place a gun to their head demanding the money. You have no video of what happened.
• You have lost internal controls at this location if you have just one teller. Basic accounting for internal controls depends on two people being present. In this case, if the teller is out sick, a back-up teller will be sent to the office. This person will have access to everything the teller needs to operate. If and when cash goes missing, the regular teller can claim that the relief teller took the funds. You are tempting your staff into stealing funds because they have little oversight on what they are doing.
Safety of people is more important than security! When "transaction numbers do not warrant having another person there," in our opinion, the institution has only three decisions it can make:
1. Install an ITM.
2. Close the branch and use a walk-up ATM.
3. Close the branch.
Learn more about Barry Thompson and Randall Phillips
25 Critical Mistakes a Smart Institution NEVER Makes “Updated”

First published on 01/27/2019

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