They Do Not Deserve Their Own Employees
The banking industry is a cut-throat marketplace to try to get and maintain a foothold on the competition. Bank of America is no different, struggling to maintain their marketshare to the smaller, catchier competition such as Wachovia and Washington Mutual (WaMu). Here is my call for action and why:
I call for 1,000,000 Bank of America accounts/credit cards closed as a direct result of this article spreading like wildfire to teach the Big Companies that they exist because of the little people, internal and external.
If you end up closing your account(s)/card(s) as a result of this article, please leave a comment so I can track the impact this is having. Why am I so bent on such a drastic campaign to destroy a company? Well, it’s personal, but not unreasonably so. Everyone can appreciate justice and a balance in the world, and this is how balance will be achieved.
My wife got her 4-year degree in Business Administration from a top university (Top 10 in the AP football polls right now) in May 2006. She really wanted to get into a corporate job to use her skills and move away from face to face customer service that she had been dealing with as office staff at Publix throughout college.
In May 2007, an opportunity to get into Bank of America opened up just 3 miles from home and would be a gateway to getting a corporate job downtown. The local branches are trial by fire to get a better position. We went shopping for nice business attire and decked out the closets with Ann Taylor Loft with great-looking, smart, appropriate day wear. I didn’t even mind the cost because she looks great and happy to not be wearing a green vest and New Balance shoes.
After 5 months at her branch, she found out that she will be terminated next month if her new account sales are not meeting the Company standards of referring new checking/savings accounts and credit cards. This is despite the following:
- The fastest person to train on the system that they can remember.
- Nearly flawless balancing, often to the penny, despite a $25/day fudge factor.
- First new employee and faster than some hired weeks before to receive a branch key for opening.
- Punctual while others are daily 5-15 minutes late.
- Perfect attendance until this news upset her too much to go in the next day.
- Only falling short by 2-5 accounts every month despite being part time and often on drive-thru, yet being held to the same standards as a full-time teller in the lobby.
Does this sound like someone you should fire? Does this make any business sense? Can it really be more valuable to open new accounts than it costs to train someone over 2-5 months and then fire them? People close accounts all the time without so much as the rep asking if there is anything they can do to convince them to keep it open, so why are accounts more valuable than employees’ time, career, self-esteem, and stress?
Unlike this report, conditions apparently did not get bad enough for Bank of America to change their ways:
When did things go wrong?
Things started being a bit weird at the branch when the managers emphasized on a daily basis how many new accounts and credit cards had to be opened that day to meet the monthly goal. It was pretty ridiculous on the 29th when they were still something like 26 accounts short, but that didn’t stop the pressure.
The next step was instituting personal sales goals every month for every teller. What they didn’t state were the consequences of not meeting the goals. All they covered was that new accounts accounted for a portion of the quarterly review process; nothing major.
The world changed the day she found out from a co-worker that everyone at the branch was new because the entire staff had been replaced 5-6 months ago because they didn’t open enough accounts. Some current employees already had their oral and written warnings to increase their sales or get terminated.
Terminated after 5 months as a TELLER! Are they peddling products or processing transactions? If referring new accounts is more important than any of the above excellent employee traits, then the position should be called “sales.”
What is Bank of America doing to their employees and customers?
Let’s look at this from a customer’s standpoint using a couple of scenarios:
- As a regular customer, every week when I come into the branch, I am told I pre-qualify for a BoA credit card. Every time I tell the same tellers I’ve had for the last two months that I applied one time and was not approved and got a Wachovia card. Am I going to be a satisfied customer?
- As a drive-thru customer, every time I come to the branch, the drive-thru teller asks me if I would like to open a new checking account. One time I said, “yes,” and was told that I would have to come inside. Yeah, come inside and wait for an hour! I’m in the stinking drive-thru for a reason! I’m in a hurry. I think the teller is a moron every time I deposit a check. Am I going to be a satisfied customer?
Personal experience and inqueries of dozens of people indicate that people looking to open an account at a bank will either go to the Customer Service teller or similar area or directly ask a teller to open an account and ask about the process.
What are branches doing to meet their numbers?
- In desparate moves to meet the month-end goals, employees are pressured to open new checking accounts and credit card accounts themselves or for family members.
- Pressure employees to get their spouses and family to refer new accounts on behalf of the employee. Seriously. My wife was approached several times to get me to find new accounts where I work and try to talk people into it because my employer is a BoA partner and receives free checking accounts. “It’s free! Go ahead and get an account.” The branch manager even followed up with her to make sure she asked me.