Sunday, September 23, 2018

Banking Tales

The grandchildren are here for a few days while the parents are away on a business trip to NYC.  So,  it's a fun but busy weekend.  My husband had cleaned out his "change" drawer and I thought it was a great idea to have my little grandson count the change, write down the amounts and then we'd go to the bank to have it exchanged for bills.  Then, he and his little sister could go and buy a small toy with the money.  It was meant to be a math lesson.

(this is not the coin; this is from an old coin bank I have)

We left home in time to get to the bank before it closed.  My husband has had his account at this bank for over 48 years.  And, I worked for this same bank for over 25 years.  Now, with online banking, and banking apps for my smart phone, I rarely go into the branch.

It was surprising when we walked into the branch yesterday; they had partitioned off a wall and it was half as big as it once was.  There were NO other customers in the branch.  We went to the teller/cashier to ask about having the coins exchanged into bills.  She told me, "I can take the coin, send it to the coin counting department and then credit your checking account".  I replied in a shocked way that "you've got to be kidding me"!  Here's what we had:  $2.50 in dimes, .44 in pennies, .95 in nickels and $2.25 in quarters.

Now, I remember all my years of working at the bank all too well.  We didn't accept huge bags of coin without being rolled.  Yesterday, I had a very little amount.  The teller could have easily counted this out, and given my grandson the bills.  What happened to the custom of teaching your children to save money?  In the old days, the children would come in with their savings passbooks and deposit their coins into their accounts.  Times have certainly changed.  I was so, so upset.  We walked across the parking lot to the drug store where the children picked out two small toys and the extremely helpful cashier readily took my grandson's coins.

Banking has certainly changed now days.  My husband and I actually bank with two banks and we have never paid any fees all these years.  The banks have become so greedy and I feel for their customers.  Back in the old days when I started, the banking hours were between 10:00 AM and 3:00PM.  The cancelled checks used to be returned to the branch each day, where they were daily filed in each customer's file and at the end of the month, the checks were mailed out with the statements.  Long gone are those days, as these days you don't receive your checks and you're lucky if you even receive a paper bank statement!

There was drama back in those days too.  I worked for the same large branch that I went into yesterday but it was in a small, Eastern Washington agricultural town.  The people made their living by farming thousands of acres of land.  It was a regular Mom and Pop/ Leave it to Beaver kind of lifestyle.  The branch manager had always been a man back in those years.  It changed one year when a woman became the branch manager.  It wasn't that she was a woman.  I'm not prejudice.  It was because she was a woman who was totally out of her zone.  She came to our little town and had no desire whatsoever to understand our lifestyle.  She was there only to "climb higher" on her corporate ladder.  I'll never forget one day she called a staff meeting, and basically threw candy at us down the table like throwing bones to a dog!  I was appalled.  Back in those days, I was too shy to ever say anything.

But, not too long afterwards, things changed.  You see, the branch I worked at was actually two separate entities; the operations side of the branch and the commercial lending side of the branch.  I worked for the commercial lending side and my daugher, who was in high school at this time, worked part time for the operations side.  This new super woman manger, who was a very cold hearted person to say the least, one day called me into her office and told me that the commercial banking side was closing and that I couldn't work there as long as my daughter was working there.  I lost my cool and told her exactly what I thought.  Including her throwing the candy at us like we were a dog!

Over 25 years of working and having a great work record/ethic, she wanted to get rid of me.  We had a union so to speak and I immediately contacted them.  You see, my family and I were planning to move in a few months to the west side of the state, where we had purchased a new home.  I was going to transfer to the branch over there.  It all turned out OK in the long run, but I had no respect whatsoever for that manager.  I don't know what happened to her and I really don't care.  I do not like cold hearted people.  And, now days, I will not waste my time with them.  I remember my fellow employees at the bank telling me, "Wow, Pat, we overheard what you told her and we didn't realize you'd speak up.  Good for you!"

It turned out fine and it wasn't the first time I had a glitch.  Years earlier, I was expecting my son and working full time in the lending department.  I had been very ill with the flu and missed a few days of work.  The manager (old guy)  for the lending department said something to me to the likes of maybe quitting work.  Of course I said no, as I was insured through my work.  After my son was born, I became a part time employee.  A new person took my place who was of the same faith as the manager.  He (the manager) bent over backwards to accommodate her when she had a problem with her knee and came to work in a wheelchair.  He never told her to quit her job!  Funny thing is, this old manager guy, who didn't do his job as he should, later got demoted/fired.

I did work for a wonderful vice president of commercial lending for a couple of years, who was a very smart and accomplished woman.  She didn't have to fake her way up the corporate ladder as she was not only smart but did her job extremely well.  She came into the branch to fix all the bad loans that the old guy manager had ignored all those years.  And, she did a great job.  I loved working for her and she knew her stuff so to speak.

When I arrived at new branch where I was transferred, some more interesting things happened.  The manager was a woman, again.  She told us we could not wear pants to work.  If this would have happened today, I would have complained.  Back then, I kept my cool.  Funny thing is, she was married to a "guy" who had been in prison.  Their marriage fell apart, he killed her dog (they didn't have children), burned down their home and he went back to prison!  Talk about drama. . . we had a guard at the branch (without any firearm) to protect us during this time.  What a joke now that I think bout it all these years later.  She went on to break up a marriage and start a relationship with another banker.

After yesterday's episode, I have no use for banks.  Although I'm a preferred customer or whatever you want to call it, it comes down to the operations side of the bank only wants to sell you something.  You can't even go into the branch today without an appointment!  There's another woman branch manager down the road who is a ruthless person. She runs her branch like a prison guard watching over his/her prisoners!  What a shame that this is what has happened to an industry that used to have loyal employees because the bank was loyal to them.  Things have certainly changed.

I think I have to accept change more readily now days.  But, it hard to accept change when the old ways used to work so well.  Life is good so I have no reason to complain :)

That's about all I have to share today.  It's warm here in SoCal. We've had a couple of warm nights which is unusual for us.  How I long for cool weather.   Until next time,

With my best wishes to you,



  1. I would expect that sort of (non) service from our banks over here too. I used to work in the banking industry too and have seen it change over the years. It used to be a personal service, we knew all our customers as they would visit the branch but these days customers are nothing but a number and the bank staff don't know you from Adam. Like just about everything these days, it's all about targets and profits and very little service.

  2. Around here, they have counting machines in the banks - however, if you are not a customer of that bank, they take $5.00 out for the "service." Never mind, as far as I'm concerned.

  3. Our bank in California was that was and I don't miss it at all. Our small town bank here in Georgia is wonderful, they greet us by name and and always make sure we get exactly what we need.

  4. Banks are not well liked here in the UK. They are extremely greedy. There was a huge stink here when interest rates were raised for the first time in over 20 years several months ago. The banks refused to pass it on to savers but increasing mortgage repayments. You can be sure when interest rates drop they will be quick to pass that change onto savers but not mortgage repayments.

    Enough moans. Hope you are keeping well xxxxx

  5. Wow.. you sure have some stories about working in a bank! I had some real rotten work experiences at several different work places and I'll never forget them. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  6. Goodness - what tales - it must have been an exciting time! Banks here in the UK do not listen to customers. Everything is automated self-service and there are few cashiers - just a couple of people hanging around to advise if you get stuck!

  7. I think the internet banks are the best bet nowadays. They keep fees near zero and offer great customer service. For example, Capital One!

  8. We lost our loyal, local bank about 10 years ago, here in our little town. It moved to the city, 40 minutes away. It makes it hard to bank because if you receive a check or need to withdraw cash, it is an ordeal. All the banks want you to go on-line, but then you have to worry about getting hacked. There is no happy medium. I think every place of employment has its scandals, not just banks.... I worked for the school district for a few years and they were the worst! It all seems so funny now, like the 'Harper Valley PTA', but at the time it was so scandalous! Sending hugs xo Karen

  9. So interested to learn of your work background, Pat, but sorry for the discouraging experiences you have had in the banking industry. And I appreciate your consternation about your attempt to get your grandson's money counted! I was stunned the other day when I went to my credit union to get a fresh looking fifty dollar bill to put in a 50th wedding anniversary gift and the teller said she had no control on choosing because she typed in the amount and a machine spewed out the money like an ATM would! She did however ask if I was satisfied with the look of the bill, and I was. Whew!

  10. Things have changed and become impersonal, sadly.


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