28 Apr How to Become a Bank Teller
So you’ve given it lots of thought and figure a bank teller is probably the best entry level professional position out there. You may be correct, according to a recent survey an entry level position as a bank teller is in fact one of the most desirable at the entry level. But let’s get down to basics here and really find out why you want to be a bank teller? You may not realize and it might seem like just a very simple job to dress nice and speak to customers all day, but the reality of it is, you will be dealing with irate customers, you will be identifying possible fraudulent transactions, you will be subject to possible bank robberies which we discuss in the risks sections, and you will be handling money all day long–please do not forget your hand sanitizing solution.
Before making a solid decision on your entry level job or before sending out applications, you should make yourself aware of what a job as a bank teller entails.
Do yourself a favor and visit several banks in the area to see which ones you prefer, or even the local credit unions are also an excellent choice in getting a foot in the door, however credit unions may be slightly tougher to get in without experience.
Not all but certain banks are moving towards bi lingual employees in branches as more people from foreign countries are moving in locally. If you are completing a bachelors degree in business, it is now a requirement to to take a second language. If Spanish is not your language, do yourself a favor and skip the French and jump into Spanish class. Being bilingual will only enhance your chances of getting that bank teller job.
Skills You Need to Become Bank Teller
You don’t have to be a number cruncher to become a bank teller. If you have pleasing personality, good attitude, free of any criminal records, intention to serve others and some simple cash handling tactics, then you can get through a bank teller interview. If you need a career in finance, then bank teller job can provide the stepping-stone. So, what are the typical responsibilities of a bank teller.
Simple mathematical calculations with the ability to use financial software
Most banks provide in-house training for recruited candidates to get on board quickly. You don’t have to be a degree holder; instead, if you have higher secondary school education with strong mathematical skills, and ability to perform financial computations quickly, then you can easily handle a bank teller job well. A bank teller should be adept in various financial calculations with the ability to learn and use financial software applications to do complex calculations.
Customer service-management skills
Apart from mathematical skills, and the ability to handle financial software applications, a bank teller is also expected to be good at sales and marketing along with good communication skills to interact with customers. Most banks make use of bank tellers to promote banking products to customers. So, a bank teller is expected to have pleasing personality, ability to articulate ideas well, clarify doubts of customers, and have the ability to sell banking products by stating their benefits.
Certifications from American Banking Association
If you are serious about taking a bank teller job as an entry level position into finance domain, then you should consider taking seminars, voluntary certification programs from the American Banking Association, workshops or distance learning program. All these programs can give you better insight not only about the nature of day-to-day duties of a bank teller, but also about how finance industry operates. You can also rely on induction training provided by a bank before you take on your actual duties as a bank teller. The difference is additional programs like seminars and workshops can give you much more valuable knowledge that you can’t get from an in-house training.
Continuous learning for bank tellers
Once you get familiar with the duties of a bank teller, day-to-day job is going to be more or less the same. But, if you want to climb up in your career, then you must consider continuing education seriously. American Bankers Association offers many certifications in specific areas to help banking professionals. If you are serious about a career in finance, then you should take the certification exams of American Bankers Association. Some banks, however, place high importance on customer interaction and ability to convince customers to purchase banking products. If you want to be on the retail side, then good communication skill is more than enough. But, if you want to get deep into finance domain, then continuous learning is essential.
Bank Teller Background Checks
A bank teller job requires close interaction with the clients of a bank. So, this means a bank teller should have good work history and clean background free of any criminal charges. A bank trusts a bank teller in dealing with its money, so this shows how important a bank teller job is. If you are new to applying for bank teller job or if you are just out of high school or college, then background check can be a bit intimidating, but the fear of background check shouldn’t stop you from proceeding further. The main purpose of running a background check is to make certain that a bank can entrust you with the task of dealing with its money and banking products. So, let’s see what are the essential components involved in a background check of a bank teller job.
- No previous criminal history. As the main job of a bank teller is to deal with money, it is essential for a bank to hire people with no criminal history. In fact, some banks check complete personal history of a candidate. In that case, criminal history verification would fall under personal check itself. In any case, criminal history check involves checking for minor wrongdoings. Most states give information only about the last seven years. This means, a bank can’t get hold of juvenile records of a candidate. During criminal history check, importance is given to find out whether an applicant was ever a plaintiff or defendant in any criminal case. Apart from this, a bank also checks the National Crime Information Center for whatever information it can obtain about an applicant.
- No bad credit history. Credit check is to find out whether an applicant has ever filed for any bankruptcy. Apart from this, social security reports are verified to find out a candidate’s residence address in the past seven years. Also, a bank collects details about name verification, employer verification, references, and previous salary.
- General background check. Clearing a drug test is highly important for a bank teller job. This test is conducted by local clinics chosen by a bank, as drug tests are a bit expensive. Apart from this, a bank verifies your educational qualification and references provided in your job application. When it comes to checking educational qualification, a bank verifies your school attendance, general performance, date of passing out, certification and degree. By doing such an elaborate background check on essential data, a bank can confidently hire a bank teller.
Most applicants with clean records should be able to pass these tests like a piece of cake. Practically, detailed background check is needed to help a bank choose a right candidate. Otherwise, choosing a person with criminal records could wreak havoc to a bank and its operations as the job involves dealing with the backbone of a bank – its financial transactions.
Daily Work Tasks of a Bank Teller
There is much more to a bank teller job than merely handling cash transactions. A typical day of a bank teller varies from one bank to another. But, the basic duties of a bank teller remain more or less the same. So, let’s see the day-to-day duties of a bank teller.
- Strictly adhering to routine security check. Almost every bank opens its branch by checking both inside and outside its premise for anyone hiding or for the presence of any suspicious people around. The security procedures of opening a bank and running the essential security checks before a bank teller can start the work varies from one bank to another.
- Processing nightly deposits. This is done almost every day, and once it is determined safe to enter a bank, a teller opens the cash vault. If a bank allows night depository facility, then a teller opens the night depository lock, under the inspection of at least two other people to maintain the integrity of a bank.
- Service drive-through customers. If a bank allows drive-through facility, then a bank teller has to keep the drive-through window open, and service the customers at the drive-through outlet. A bank teller has to finish processing the night depositories before a bank opens its branch for the public. This means, depending on a bank, a teller has to start working as early as 7.00 am or 8.00 am.
- Routine job of answering telephone calls and servicing walk-in clients. Once a bank starts its business, bank tellers have to deal with drive-thru customers, answer telephone calls, and most importantly provide service to walk-in customers. In fact, processing the request of walk-in customers is one of high priorities of a bank teller. Typically, a bank teller deals with deposits, withdrawals, loan payments, safe deposits, traveler’s check, credit card/master card, and other cash-related transactions.
- Assist ATM teller. While doing their job, bank tellers have to maintain the cash-in and cash-out details by matching the total at the end of a day. Apart from this, if an ATM teller runs into trouble, a bank teller should be able to assist him in filling up an ATM with cash, process ATM deposits, and other ATM-related duties. But, this may not be case with all banks, as some banks have exclusive ATM customer service personnel to deal with ATM-related matters.
- Maintain Teller Cash Dispenser. A bank teller has to have exact change to process a customer’s request accordingly. Practically, a teller can’t have change in all possible denominations to meet customers’ needs. This is where a Teller Cash Dispenser (TCD) machine comes into picture. A bank teller uses TCD to dispense cash exactly as per the denominations requested by clients. So, it is the responsibility of a bank teller to audit a TCD daily or weekly to cross verify that there aren’t any discrepancies in handling cash.
- Adhere to security rules. A teller closes down the transactions and turns over to the next business day. Before leaving off, a teller has to make certain that there aren’t any important items left lying around. Apart from this, a teller also has to lock in any additional cash or valuable in a fireproof locker.
These basic duties of a bank teller remain more or less the same in all banks. However, in some banks, a teller has to meet sales target by selling banking products. In that case, the typical workday of a teller is quite different.
- Find out referrals. If a bank teller has to sell banking products, then apart from the basic duties, a teller has to take efforts to find out qualified referrals from existing customers. Additionally, a bank teller also gets guidance from a branch manager to meet the sales target.
Federal Credit Union Tellers VS Bank Tellers
The way a federal credit union operates is different from the way a bank or a financial institution does. The major difference is that in a federal credit union, every account holder is the owner of the credit union. So, all the operations of a federal credit union is geared towards the benefit of its members. A federal credit union is categorized as a not-for-profit organization with exemption from several federal and state taxes. The tax savings help a federal credit union to operate more efficiently by offering banking products that are highly competitive.
Non-profit organizations operate by receiving donations, but not-for-profit organizations like federal credit union don’t rely on donations and have the responsibility to operate efficiently to make profits for the members. Even though a federal credit union doesn’t have to pay taxes, they still have the obligation to work aggressively to generate revenue that exceeds expenses and dividends. A credit union then disburses the profit among its members in the form of cost-effective banking services like higher return on savings, affordable loans for its members, or lower fees on banking products.
All the above facts show that the way a federal credit union operates is not the same as how a bank does. In a federal credit union, a savings account is called as shared account, checking account as shared-draft account, and certificate of deposit as shared-term certificates. Apart from these terminologies, the way of a credit union operates is a bit different from the way a bank does. This means, the job responsibilities of a credit union teller are different as well.
Duties of a teller of a federal credit union
Let’s see some more details about a teller job in a federal credit union. A teller job can be full time or part time, depending on the needs of a federal credit union. If a federal credit union has fewer members, then a teller job could be part time, otherwise if there is heavy workload, then it can be a full time job. So, you can expect either 24 hours or 48 hours of work per week based on the needs of a branch.
A federal credit union expects a teller to provide various services such as attending to bank member’s calls in person, by telephone, or by email. Moreover, there is a restriction that only members of a credit union can deposit or withdraw money. So, a teller not only has to make certain that only members operate their respective accounts, but also process cash correctly into different types of accounts.
A teller is responsible for disbursing cash or check, verifying and processing withdrawals, processing travelers’ check, money orders, Master card or Visa card, and cash advances. A teller of a federal credit union is also responsible for processing loan payments and handling various other service charge payments correctly. Apart from the above-mentioned, a teller should also process automatic distribution forms, redeem savings bond, close accounts, and record various allotments to members. All the above-mentioned duties require a teller to be familiar and adept in handling day-to-day tasks.
Before hiring a teller, a federal credit union gives a month-long training to equip a teller with adequate knowledge to perform well. However, a candidate doesn’t have any special or additional qualifications as the educational qualification requirements for a teller of a federal credit union is almost the same as a bank.