Is Your Branch Cash Secure?

Double-check measures to protect employees, customers, and assets

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By: Heather Campbell, CIA

Recently there has been a lot of commentary on bank security related to cyber threats, but attention should also be given to the daily threats to cash posed during a robbery or by bank employees.  Bank security goes beyond just cyber threats, and it is wise to perform periodic checks and refreshers on the security measures in place. Is your branch cash secure?

Make sure to check on these cash security measures to keep bank employees, customers, and assets safe and secure:

  • ‘Eyes up’ customer service: greet each person that walks in the bank. All employees in the front office should look up each time the door is opened and be sure the person walking through is greeted.  This makes the person who walks in feel good, but also shows that person they have been noticed.
  • Protect the vault: Keep cash vault doors locked and maintain dual control when the vault is entered.
  • Enforce a clean teller line and all cash should be put away.
  • Set and maintain cash limits on teller cash drawers. It is also good to set a “working” cash and “backup” cash limit.  The working cash would be kept in a top drawer and the backup cash should be in a locked second drawer.
    • Example: Teller drawer limit is $12,000, with $3,000 working cash limit. The remaining $9,000 would stay locked until it was needed.  The key to this is to make sure the second drawer is locked.
    • Sell excess cash to the vault a.s.a.p.: It is more common for all unlocked cash to be taken during a robbery; therefore, the working cash drawer should be locked when the teller is not present and the backup cash drawer should be locked when not in use. It is also important to maintain these limits that have been set.  If a teller obtains cash that puts them over the limit, that cash should be sold back to the vault as soon as possible.
  • Implement balancing with shared drawers: Each teller should be assigned their own teller cash drawer.  Best practice would be to not share teller drawers.  If a drawer is to be shared then be sure balancing is happening before and after each time ownership of the drawer is traded.
  • Change bait money annually. If your bank uses bait money; it should be changed out annually.  This includes changing the strap that may be on this money at least quarterly.  The bait money should be current and not stand out from the other money in the drawer.
  • Cash straps should include the date and initials of who sold and verified the strap. The cash straps in the vault should be changed at least annually during the surprise cash counts.
  • Robbery procedures should be trained and practiced periodically. The more you practice, the more comfortable employees become and can react swiftly and know exactly what to do.
Many banks assume that because policies are in place that they are being followed.  It doesn’t take much additional effort to check regularly and ensure the safety of your branch isn’t exposed in any way.

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