• ARB says

      First off, Shaun, that was a great article that you wrote.

      As for the banks, I do understand things from their point of view. Spending money to upheave and essentially outdate a reliable revenue generator is not exactly something that most businessmen/women would exactly jump at the chance to do. This is regardless of whether their business is a stodgy old corporation or a fresh new startup. Remember that the purpose of the business is to make money; EVERYTHING else is secondary.

      But it’s something banks are going to have to do. There’s no way around it. ACH, check clearing, and monetary movement in general has to be made quicker. I understand concerns over fraud, but it’s something that still needs to be done. Because the banks aren’t just facing competition from other banks/financial institutions now; they are facing competition from fintech startups and tech giants like Apple and Google. PayPal is another company that revolutionized the money transfer “industry” (I shouldn’t use quotes anymore as it’s fast becoming an actual industry). These companies aren’t going to cause the banking industry to go extinct, don’t get me wrong. But when people can transfer money more quickly and cheaply with small fintechs and services like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and whatever else eventually gets developed, those existing revenue sources for traditional bank transfer services (ex. wire transfer fees) will dry up regardless of whether the banks move into the 21st Century or not.

      Like I said, I do see things from the banks’ viewpoint. These things cost money and there’s always a “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality. It’s not something that’s easy to do and it’s not like the banks WANT your transfer to take 7-10 business days. But if the banks want to out-compete the fintechs and tech giants twenty years from now in the realm of money transfer servicing and revenue-generating, they are going to have to invest in upgrading those systems now.

      I remember a former FA I used to work with telling a friend of his who was a restaurant owner that didn’t want to pay to upgrade his kitchen a pretty good piece of advice: “You have to spend money to make money.”

      Thanks for your comment!

      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  1. says

    Wow, that is actually so much risk compared to the amount you are getting paid. No wonder it’s a stressful environment to work in a bank. I guess double checking everything from now on, but it’s still a pain in the…

    How many situations like this do you have to face daily?

    • ARB says

      How many situations like this in terms of almost getting fired? An extreme rarity, thankfully.

      How many situations like this where the employee is risking their job to initiate or approve a customer transaction? EVERY. SINGLE. TRANSACTION.

      Every time a teller does a withdrawal from funds that were recently deposited, they risk those funds coming back. Any of these can lead to automatic termination, regardless of your job title and level of service. That’s why the tellers have to verify the funds when you ask to withdraw money, even if it shows on your mobile app that it’s in the account. Because if it “comes back” and the amount was large enough, the employee is now unemployed. Not written up. Not on probation. Unemployed.

      Had that fight with a customer yesterday while I was covering the teller line.

      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

      • says

        Talking about customers from hell this is a really bad situation where you take almost all the risk without any upside except the monthly payment. Usually, all we see is how “bankers” are well paid and how well they are living.

        Thanks for sharing this experience, it’s always nice to see both sides of the job to be able to understand how it is.

        • ARB says

          Those are two different jobs you just mentioned there.

          The bankers that are well paid and living it up? Those are the private and investment bankers. Especially the investment bankers. Mind you, they all work VERY hard for their pay and aren’t out crashing the economy for s***s and giggles like people think. But your branch banker? He/she isn’t making particularly much.

          I once had a customer storm out of the bank, claiming that “We’re all making $70,000 a year and can’t be bothered to help the little guy.” I wondered where he pulled that number from, because it wasn’t from reality and at the time he had mentally more than doubled my salary.

          Every job in finance has risk attached to it. Best to go to the ones where you are well paid. And all the more reason to keep your personal expenses low and invest for financial freedom.

          ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  2. Lila says

    Do you have any savings to be able to leave? I worked 4 years in customer service and it drove me nuts. I would come home crying over the atrocious treatments by customers. I’d have the ugly cry. So I’m wondering if you are working on a plan to leave? YOU NEED TO LEAVE.

    • ARB says

      Wow, sounds like your experience with customer service was even worse than mine. Knock on wood, I can’t say I ever came home crying as a result of nasty customers. I think I’m just so used to it at this point. I have about fifteen years of dealing with people under my belt. I don’t want to go for sixteen.

      I have very little savings. More accurately, it’s mostly about to go to buying a home, so I’m not going to have that six months worth of savings that us personal finance bloggers (myself included) always recommend. That said, yes I am working on a plan to leave and have been actively fighting to get out of there for months.

      Thanks for your comment, Lila!

      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  3. Anonymous DM says

    I stumbled upon your website accidentally as I was researching on Customer experience.
    I have been in retail banking for over 20 years (As both an individual contributor; and as a people manager) I am currently a District Manager in the field. I scanned a few of your articles; and found them interesting, humorous, and enlightening. Interesting in the sense that it made me wonder if your sentiments and thoughts are shared among a large share of RB’s as a whole? Humorous in that I find your sarcasm and wit just plain funny. Enlightening where you provide genuine, unfiltered thoughts which would otherwise never be shared.

    Only comment I have is regarding the WIRE issue. From my lens; not that big a deal. Certainly something to be mindful of (However that’s exactly why Banks have additional security layers – in your case you referred to them as “Loss Prevention”) They prevented the loss; and if you are not habitually approving wires like this; end of story – human error. Sorry your boss made you feel that way.


    • ARB says

      Anonymous DM,

      I’m glad you found this site and I’m glad you got some food for thought from my blog posts. I don’t know how widespread my sentiments are (this is not a collaborative effort; everything in here is my thoughts and my experiences alone), but I can tell you I’m not the only one.

      Every branch of every bank I’ve worked at, there is a feeling of “Well, at least we have a job”. No one enjoys or takes pride in working in a retail/sales environment, which is exactly what a bank is. Customer service is a neverending battle that can’t be won and isn’t worth fighting for those in the “trenches”. Everyone I know is slogging through until something better comes along (like graduation from school, a better job opportunity, or retirement). The prevailing sentiment day-to-day is that “At least this is better than unemployment”. The comments I get on this blog and the emails and Reddit messages I get echo the same sentiments; those who’ve gotten out would never go back and those still there are fighting for opportunities to get out. Even those in MANAGEMENT positions say the same.

      So while I can’t speak for all retail bankers, I can say I’m far from the only one with these sentiments. I’m just the only one nutso enough to go home and blog about it.

      As for the wire, it’s good to hear from a DM on this issue, especially if the message is “It’s no big deal”. Like I said in the post, it’s not me coming to this conclusion or creating a clickbait title; my manager told me I would have been terminated if the branch took that kind of loss. I’m sure he’s just getting me to really make sure I’m careful with things in order to protect my job, and I understand. I’m pretty tough on approvals because I can always hear his voice in my head calling me into his office, and that’s probably prevented me from approving transactions that might have come back. Hell, maybe I would have lost my job at some point if it weren’t for this kind of thing. But that just makes the work experience worse than it needs to be. That’s why I’m stressed and anxious every morning I have to go to work.

      As a District Manager, I’m sure you know a lot about banking. Probably more than I do (you have twice my experience and a much higher title). I hope you become a regular reader and commenter on this site. While I’m far from the world’s most respected authority on banking (wouldn’t still be working at a branch for less than $45,000/year if I was), feel free to share any article with your peers that you think is relevant. Like I said, my sentiments are shared with many fellow bankers and even most customers (I’m still yet to meet a customer who would disagree with my article on lobby greeting, found here: And I do think my posts offer a boots-on-the-ground point of view that you will NEVER hear from anywhere else (I promise you your own branch managers will never “tell it like it is”) that you may find of value.

      Thank you for your comment!

      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  4. Stevie says

    Aren’t bank employees covered by some type of errors and omissions insurance? I almost hate to say it, but maybe a computer should make these decisions. Or perhaps a dedicated “approver”? Was training offered for this?

    Something had to be done about the old system, because banks routinely would put a two week hold even on local payroll checks (sometimes longer for new customers). Several times I even had a hold on cash deposits!

    That so many working folks qualify for public assistance clearly shows how messed up our economy is. It is one of the worst forms of corporate welfare out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *