Are Banker's Hours Still Relevant?

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As an entrepreneur, I keep my firm open virtually 24/7. My paid vacation days are nil. And after the craziness of the holiday season, I was excited to throw myself into my work in financial services marketing at the beginning of 2015 — until banker's hours got in the way.

It's not only banks that maintain short hours and shut down on holidays like Presidents Day. Many other companies in the financial services industry have glommed onto this operating mode as well.

I'm shocked that so many people have chosen to follow banks in going underground. It's difficult to be disruptive, innovative or even revenue-producing under those circumstances. Everyone loves a long weekend — but what do banker's hours mean for today's mobile, digital bank customers?

The origins of banker's hours date back to the prehistoric method of processing financial transactions. Originally, banks needed to shorten their hours in order allow for the laborious paperwork involved in processing and clearing checks, deposits and transfers. These precautions seem no longer necessary in the digital age, when processing is fully automated.

I spoke about this issue with Patti Boyle, my colleague and fellow entrepreneur. "I'm all for hardworking professionals taking the time to enjoy the rewards of their businesses," she said. "But their customers shouldn't have to pay the price."

Boyle suggests that the financial industry embrace the reality of the global 21st century and hire contract workers. "The financial world is full of talented, experienced professionals who are more than happy to support your businesses when you're not able," she said.

For financial firms that prefer to stick with homegrown talent, Boyle suggests offering employees a flexible holiday model. "With this scenario, employees are encouraged to select the days they take off versus following a government calendar," she said. This would help banks and other financial companies remain open to serve customers around the globe 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In today’s frenetic world of constant demands and plugged-in people, it seems safe to say that banker's hours must soon come to an end. Both the nomenclature and the accompanying attitude should go the way of the disco ball and bell-bottom jeans.

April Rudin is the founder of the Rudin Group, a wealth marketing firm that specializes in high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth client acquisition for financial services companies. Follow her on Twitter @TheRudinGroup.

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Digital banking