Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This could explain a lot

When I want to take money out of the bank, I usually use ATMs. But when it comes to depositing checks, I’m still neurotic enough to want to deal with a live human being.

Not too long ago I went to a branch of my bank with a check and was waited on by a person identified by her nameplate as (name uncreatively changed to protect the innocent):


I’ve been out of the daily journalism biz for some time now, but it seems to me that the biz news biz may be missing out on a big story here.

If the bank is taking pains to identify Ms. Doe this way, does that mean that (unbeknown to us all) the bank has been allowing amateur tellers to handle our money?

And if so, have these people been doing the job without pay and just for the “love” of handling money?

Does the bank have “pro-am” events, where the amateurs team up with the pros to process our transactions? Is there a banquet afterward? Is a trophy awarded to the amateur who has improved the most? (“This year Joe caused only three banks to fail, down from 16 in 2009!”)

Is it easy to tell amateur tellers from professional ones? I should think there would be some telltale signs:

They say things like: “Wow! I didn’t realize Benjamin Franklin invented $100 bills, too!”

They ask for your driver’s license and your high school graduation picture “because I always like to see how people change over the years!”

They count out your money and ask if you want fries with it.

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