Tellers deal with people all day and are surrounded by stacks of forms that must be filled out correctly to ensure the bank's operations move smoothly.
But when it comes to compliance training, some industry officials say tellers have been largely ignored. Now new programs from the Institute of Financial Education and American Bankers' Association have begun to put the focus on the sometimes-forgotten bank workers.
"They're often neglected when banks are training," said Gail Rafter Meneley, president of the Institute of Financial Education. "Still, they're the front-line defense of banks. If there's a screw-up at the teller window, they've screwed up the whole transaction."
The Institute of Financial Education's Compliance Master training series is designed to prevent those mistakes. The first program in a series, Teller Regulations, consists of three segments intended to give tellers an overview of their compliance responsibilities.
The first segment covers the Expedited Funds Availability Act, the second focuses on the Bank Secrecy Act and the new Currency Transaction Report, and the third discusses all remaining regulations that affect tellers, including Truth-in-Savings, deposit insurance, and Electronic Funds Transfer.
The ABA's compliance training video library is geared to tellers and other front-line personnel, including loan origination officers.
"Compliance is no longer just the domain of one compliance officer in a bank," said Cindy Baltierra, director of the ABA's Center for Legal and Regulatory Compliance. "More and more companies are finding that the responsibilities have to be shared. But it's always good to give information based on what each person needs."
The ABA library is a 10-video set that costs $712 for ABA members and $1,072 for nonmembers.
The Institute of Financial Education's program costs $695 a year and can be updated as events warrant. Programs directed at loan origination officers and other front-line workers are being developed.
Ms. Meneley said banks using the Institute of Financial Education's program would have the option of conducting bankwide training sessions or allowing tellers to teach themselves. She said the goal of the program is to condense hundreds of pages of confusing regulations into easy-to- understand segments.
The ABA program also is designed to take up as little time in the bank as possible while still being comprehensive, according to Ms. Baltierra.
Rachel Battersby, compliance officer with Cape Savings Bank in Cape May Court House, N.J., and a consultant to the Institute of Financial Education, said the Compliance Master program would save time.
"Other programs have just provided too much information to train tellers," Ms. Battersby said. "We need to give them just the amount of information they need to do their daily job. Otherwise, it gets to be a burden."