Show Me State's CUs, Banks Get Literal With Dress Code

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This state's banks and credit unions have formally introduced a dress code for customers and members as a means of reducing the risk of robbery. The program is modeled on a similar effort in Massachusetts, and has been piloted among financial institutions in Springfield, Mo.

Called the "No Hats, No Hoods, No Sunglasses" security program, financial institutions in Missouri say requiring customers/members to remove all three is a "proven method to deter robberies."

The program was officially unveiled to Missouri's consumers via press conferences last week held at Meridian Credit Union in St. Louis, Exchange National Bank in Jefferson City, and Central Bank of Kansas City. Hundreds of financial institutions are participating.

"The number of robberies committed in financial institutions is growing in Missouri- from the urban to the rural areas-and this is a simple way to tackle this problem," said Max Cook, president of the Missouri Bankers Association.

"By removing hats, hoods, caps and sunglasses, consumers make it easier for staff and law enforcement to identify any would-be robbers, who often use these items as a disguise," explained Amy McLard with the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA).

The MCUA said robberies of Missouri's banks and credit unions were up 28% in 2002 over one year earlier. In Massachusetts, where the program debuted, there has been a 15% reduction in financial institution robberies after implementing the dress code. Similarly, during the six months the more than 100 credit union and bank locations in Springfield, Mo. That put the no hats, hoods and sunglasses policy in place, there were only three robbieres, and in two cases suspects followed the dress code and were later identified and caught.

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