Community bankers sometimes make suggestions that really deserve to be shared with other bankers, but the ideas are not long enough to justify a whole column.

Therefore, this column marks the start of a suggestion box section to publish some of these valuable shorter hints.

Today's column will be devoted to such suggestions. In the future, there will be one or two at the bottom of the regular column, provided there's room.

Naturally, any helpful hints you are willing to share will be welcomed for publication. You can send your ideas to the address at the bottom of this page.

2 Customer Calls per Employee

Why not develop a practice of having each contact person who deals directly with the public make two calls at the end day to thank two of the people who came in for giving the bank their business?

Most people report that these "warm calls," as opposed to "cold calls," are really appreciated, indicating to the customer that the banks know who they are.

If you have five tellers and two platform people, that will mean 14 calls a day, 70 a week, over 3,500 a year (forgetting holidays).

It's a lot of good will for a small price in time and telephone charges.

Put a Calculator Next to Pens

Community bankers report that if an electronic calculator is firmly attached to the counter where people prepare their deposit slips in the bank, it is greatly appreciated.

In today's environment, it should be as routine an accessory as the ballpoint pen attached with a bead chain.

It shows the bank is up to date and thinks about what its customers need.

The price? Almost nothing.

Showing the Flag

The bank that develops a pin with its logo on it and expects all employees to wear it around towns gets a great deal of good will from this.

First, it demonstrates to all the stores, restaurants, and other places where the bankers spend money that the bank is an important economic force in town.

Second, it shows that the bank's employees have pride in their organization.

Finally, a bank can introduce special pins as a way of recognizing longtime loyal employees. This could be a jeweled pin for bankers who have been on board a long time -- maybe adding one jewel for each five years.

I remember when Fidelity Union in Newark, N.J., had its employees wear their bank pins during business hours. As I walked through town, it made its people and their bank special in my eyes.

Cartoon Diversions

Some banks have found that a TV screen showing silent cartoons is a great distraction on the drive-in line both for people waiting their turns and their children.

It wouldn't hurt to throw in a silent commercial for one or more of the bank's services, along with Bugs Bunny chasing the Roadrunner beep beep) or Popeye eating spinach.

Want Ad in a Chess Magazine

If you are looking for a new employee whose work will require a lot in the way of analytical skills and you are afraid that most of the college grads you get are not up to the challenge, why not put an ad in a chess magazine?

Many bankers report that the type of person who enjoys being expert in chess has the type of brain that can handle the programming and other analytical work the bank needs to make its operations hum.

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