He may have violated procedure, but perhaps the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. ought to give him some special recognition for keeping down costs to the Deposit Insurance Fund: A Seattle-area bank teller lost his job after chasing down a would-be bank robber.
The 30-year-old Key Bank teller, Jim Nicholson, knew he was supposed to turn over cash in response to a demand from a man standing in front of his window wearing a knit cap and carrying a backpack, but instead Nicholson lunged toward the man and chased him out of the bank. The bank fired him two days later.
“In a state that consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally in bank robberies, what Nicholson did was not only ill-advised, according to police and the FBI, it was all but unheard of,” says an Aug. 1 Seattle Times story. “Bank tellers are trained to get robbers out the door as quickly as possible and are advised against being a hero over money that's federally insured.”
But the DIF is down to $13 billion and despite FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair’s statement last Friday upon the failure of the $25 billion asset Colonial Bank that losses for the day’s bank failures were coming in “lower than had been projected,” another assessment to replenish it could be in store for banks. Of course, the hit to the DIF from bank robberies isn’t staggering—for instance, robbers took a total of $743,160 last year from banks in Washington State, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Still, Nicholson deserves praise from weary bankers for doing his part to keep the next assessment lower.