Bank tellers are responsible for accurately processing routine transactions at a bank. These transactions include cashing checks, depositing money, collecting loan payments and processing withdrawals. They also may sell savings bonds, accept payment for customers’ utility bills and charge cards, process necessary paperwork for certificates of deposit, and sell travellers’ checks. Some tellers specialise in handling foreign currencies or commercial or business accounts. They follow strict rules and regulations to ensure that money is handled properly, safely and confidentially.
Records are kept of all transactions, which ensures that all deposits and withdrawals are handled correctly. They need to verify a customer’s identity in order to avoid fraud and enter all transactions into a computer. Non-customer related activities include processing and maintaining records of various transactions and loans. Many clerical duties are performed by bank tellers, like maintaining supplies, cleaning work areas and filing various reports. In the morning they handle deposits done by mail, night deposits and automated tellers.
Although most banking institutions offer training on the job for bank tellers, it is also useful to study a course in banking, commerce, business, accounting or management at a university, technikon or college. A National Senior Certificate that meets the requirements for a diploma or degree course is required. Experience working in an office environment or in customer service, and particularly cash-handling experience, is recommended.
Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended:
• Business Science
Milpark Business School
NQF Level 5 National Certificate: Banking (Financial Services)
Cornerstone Performance Solutions
NQF Level 5 Learnership: Core Banking
Bachelor of Banking
Damelin School of Banking
National Certificate: Banking
Standard Bank Banking Skills Academy
NQF level 4 National Certificate: Banking
Why did you choose banking?
I always had an interest in the financial sector. I completed my BEcon (ed) degree at the University of the Western Cape, and was temporarily sidetracked from my financial career aspirations. When an opportunity to work at Standard Bank presented itself, I grabbed it with both hands. Now, finally, I am on the right career path for me.
What training did you undergo?
I do not have any formal training in the banking sector; my only training was the teller course that I attended when I started work at Standard Bank. The course taught me teller skills and familiarised me with bank-related issues.
Is there a type of personality best suited to banking?
Definitely – friendliness and the passion to work with people are very important. You need to be a good communicator. You need to have patience and be a respectful person.
Is experience as important as formal training?
I think experience and formal training go hand in hand. Standard Bank gave me the opportunity to learn hands-on, and did not begrudge me simply because I do not have a formal qualification. Experience is important because it means you get better at your job. What is of utmost importance is that you must be passionate about working with money and serving the public.
Describe a typical day at work
No two days are the same. Some days are busy: like Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. My day begins with checking and getting the cash float ready for the day. I work in a smaller branch, so I have many and diverse responsibilities. I am the ATM custodian, the treasury custodian and safe custodian. I have to organise my day well in order to get my work done.
What do you like the most about your job?
There are many opportunities to upgrade my knowledge and skills while on the job. I thrive on the many opportunities to learn and upskill myself. How much I learn and develop is up to me. It depends how willing I am to take on more responsibilities so that I learn more. I enjoy getting to know my customers well.
Which aspects are you least keen on?
I really do enjoy my job – all aspects of it.
What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Being given an opportunity by Standard Bank to work within the financial services sector, even though I did not have any experience at the time.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Live your dream to the fullest. You can achieve whatever you want in life. Always try to deliver consistent, excellent customer service. Be confident and always strive to broaden your own horizons.
Describe your job in three words
It demands Concentration, Accuracy and Speed!