3 minute read
By Matt Tengwall
Posted in Customer Engagement
Many factors have affected the evolution of the banking market. Physical bank branch layouts have been modified, more freestanding ATMs are present rather than on-site teller lanes, and mobile services have been enhanced.
All of these changes are increasing convenience for the client while helping to ensure longer-term customer engagement and retention. It's similar to the transition we see at shopping malls: Today, retail centers are destinations that feature a wide array of offerings, including specialty retailers, organic food shops, trendy restaurants and fitness centers. Even as the new era of retail has faced new challenges and risks, the banking market has as well.
Cybersecurity is a bigger problem than ever before, and credit card fraud is rising with each year. At the same time, robberies and active shooters are genuine threats. Why? While the landscape of banking has to focus on cyber threats and fraud, many robbers still wear a mask and desire the most important physical asset a bank has: cold hard cash.
That is why banks need to continue to prepare for any event and take a proactive approach to managing risks -- looking at not only protecting assets but helping to ensure the employees and customers visiting each location are safe. There is no time like the present to re-evaluate your plans to ensure you and your team are ready to deal with these kinds of incidents.
I'm not the only one who stresses the important nature of reassessment. At this year's Verint Engage conference in Orlando, I had the pleasure of attending a session featuring Dollie Kelly, Vice President of Security and Retail Operations at C&F Bank, who is very focused on maintaining a strong employee awareness program around active shooters and robberies.
During the session, Kelly explained that training is key to responding properly to a violent event such as a robbery. Regular plan reassessments make the difference between catching a robber or not. And, her bank branches have demonstrated the power of this process, because they have been able to catch robbers and prevent them from hitting other branches.
The Bank Protection Act of 1968 requires security officers to provide training for responding to bank robberies, yet the act doesn't regulate how it should be done. Therefore, that means each bank has to develop a program that works for their specific organization while staying compliant. Kelly's program is centered around what she feels are her bank's greatest asset: its people.
During her presentation, she outlined the proven training practices for robbery prevention, employee safety during an incident, and robbery apprehension that she uses as part of her comprehensive training initiative. Before training even starts, it is essential that employees understand the impact of bank robberies -- and how often they occur.
Did you know that a bank robbery happens approximately eight times per day in the U.S.? Or that the majority of burglaries are committed by the burglar passing a note? These are just some of the statistics employees learn as part of introductory robbery training.
These facts, as well as statistics from the FBI on robbery and active shooter trends, are valuable to share with new personnel so they can understand the importance of being trained, aware and prepared. During Kelly's presentation, she covered a wide range of best practices -- regular live drills, role-playing and video scenario reviews.
However, for me, the biggest takeaway was the continued focus on not only ensuring the safety of people during an incident, but the idea that employees can make a difference in the investigation once the person committing the incident has left the building.
For example, a greeter can lock the door after a robbery but also look to see what kind of car the person got into -- and even call out the license plate number. Also, after the event, bank employees should make sure the affected area is cordoned off and protected to ensure a robust evidence trail.
There are many steps and processes that must be followed -- but of course, no one can accomplish them without controlling the fear that comes with an active shooter or robbery event. That is why training is so critically important.
With knowledge of what can or may happen in these types of extraordinarily stressful events, employees can move through the correct standard operating procedures quickly, confidently and accurately.
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