When I was first asked to write a piece on a “day in the life of a banker,” I immediately had several anecdotes, funny stories, even a few customer experiences that could be perfect for describing an average day at a community bank. But as I thought about it more, I realized that while those stories might contain some entertainment value for readers (and could gain me some acclaim from colleagues), they don’t really do justice in describing what an in-store banker’s daily life is really like. So, instead I will try to strike a balance. A little fun, a few jokes, but also a hard look at the day-to-day responsibilities.
Depending on your experience or personality, the core of what an in-store banker does may or may not be a challenge. If you are coming from some sort of sales (as I did), or you are a naturally gregarious person, you might find it an easy transition. You still talk to people you meet in the store, greet them and strike up friendly conversations. You still ask about their needs and try to uncover hidden desires or places where your product or service can be helpful to the potential customer. And yes, you still have to deal with the occasional difficult person, and might find yourself on the defensive about “Why is there a bank in a grocery store?” But for the most part, each day you meet fun people and hear new stories and make lots of interesting connections.
For bankers who prefer structure, glory in the details, and find operations to be their strength, standing in the freezer section greeting customers as they reach by you to get at the Stouffer’s French Bread pizzas, may not be your favorite part of the job. In those cases, a banker can find a level of satisfaction during non-sales periods doing the important daily operational aspects of the job like maintaining the ATMs, performing account review, updating branch procedure forms, and doing the general maintenance that keeps a bank running smoothly.
But the real magic of in-store banking happens during account opening – after the initial introductions, when Banker and Customer have made a connection and found that they can help one another. Account opening can be a ridiculously fun experience. You learn a lot about your new customer and can have those extended conversations that transition your relationship from salesperson-shopper to banker-client. This is when the walls come down, when the tension leaves the conversation, and the relationship begins. This is when a person trusts you with their money, a big step for anyone. For the customer, it begs the question “Why can’t all bankers be like that?” and makes the banker say, “This is why I am in this business.” I also never run out of bread and milk.