Friday, December 18, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It SN-OH, MY BACK!

A blizzard is on it's way to the Northeast, and I for one could not be more excited. I am in the minority that loves a good snowfall. While everyone else is cursing and spitting at me, I smile gleefully and watch the white drop from the skies. I am pretty good at predicting snow, sometimes days in advance, because my back and knees hurt much more with the change in weather. The joke around the branch is that I have weather control powers, because when I knew it was going to snow, I would hold out my hand and say "SNOW!" and usually within an hour or so, the flakes would start.

My manager is also a bit of a barometer when it comes to foul weather; if she takes a spill, you know snow is on it's way. She's sort of like the groundhog; when Alice sees the ground up close, Winter is here. It only helps my glee that I have a nine day weekend coming up. Some nice snow, a family Christmas party this Saturday, going to see Wintuk on Sunday, and then a week leading up to Christmas! Who could ask for more?

And as an extra added bonus, my cashmere scarf rubbing against my waterproof jacket in the ice cold air is making for a spectacular electrical discharge every time I touch anything metal or anyone, including our tellers. They call me... THE ZAPPER! K-POW!

As Krusty the Klown says, everyone have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, a Krazy Kwanza, a Tip-Top Tet, and a solemn and dignified Rhamadan!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Peer Pressure

Today, I journeyed to our branch in Ronkonkoma for something called a Peer Meeting to review something called Best Practices with something called the GAIN model. It was a welcome change of pace and very informative!

The day lead off with a conference call with our Northeast Branch Distribution Market Executive, Nick Oaks. In it, they thanked us for our continued efforts, and recognized one of our New York City branches for their performance during a visit by our CEO. It was refreshing to hear a branches efforts recognized individually. The call also detailed what's coming for the first quarter of 2010. It was nice to be able to hear Mr. Oaks speak, he seems like a very personable guy who genuinely cares about the people who keep this company running smoothly.

The session was lead by Relationship Bankers from a variety of branches in our region, some of whom came in during their scheduled vacations to share with the rest of us what has worked for them with the new GAIN training. It was a forum in which we could share our successes (successful "pen in eye" surgeries) and air our grievances (like the lack of a hot tub and/or massage therapist in our branch).

It had the feeling of an informal brainstorming session, and the fact that it was people who walk in our shoes everyday giving the talk really sent it home for me. These aren't people who haven't worked in a branch for years (or in some cases, ever). These are the people fighting the same fight I fight every day, and to hear that not only do they sometimes have the same problems, but that they are able to craft solutions and share them, it really gave me a boost.

I have been doing pretty well with the GAIN myself, though I still haven't been close to making my numbers, and the only low point of the day was a few people insisting that no matter how slow or small our branch is, so long as we correctly profile, we will make our points. I have never been told that I am doing my profiling incorrectly, and I have been embracing the GAIN training whole heartedly, yet I have not once made my points. Is it my breath? My cologne? My incoherent mumbling and twitching? For them to insist it must be that I am doing my profiling incorrectly was irksome, but I took a lot of tools away from this meeting that will enhance what I've already been doing. It's like learning a new grip on the bat; maybe you already knew how to hit a baseball, but hooking your lower pinky around the knob of the bat handle could add another few MPH to your swing (true, by the way; it makes you turn your wrists over during the swing).
I look forward to the next Peer Meeting, and especially to the free breakfast that they provided (us fat guys loves our free meals).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Fiscal United Bank Pulling A Holiday Prank...

It's Fiscal United Bank Pulling A Holiday Prank...

I broke my self-imposed work blog retirement to post the following:

We received a list of holidays for 2010. Christmas is listed as being observed on Friday, December 24th, 2010. Not trusting the obvious, and despite the fact that everyone in the branch said it was a stupid question and were confident we would also be closed Christmas Day, I sent a missive to HR to check if the bank would also be closed on December 25th. AMAZINGLY, I received a reply that no, indeed, the branches would be open Saturday, December 25th, 2010.

One of these three things must, therefore, be true:
A.) Individual members of our HR Department just make up answers off the top of their head without consulting anyone in charge of deciding such things;
B.) They're letting some holiday slide rule generate our holiday schedule without taking common sense into account; or
C.) Fiscal United Bank plans on being open on Christmas Day. Let me re-emphasize that. Open on CHRISTMAS DAY.

This reminded me of the July 4th mishap this summer, where we received memos and window clings stating we would be closed on Friday, July 3rd, and OPEN on Saturday, July 4th. We were told, within a few days, that we should throw away the window clings, and that we would be open on July 3rd and closed on July 4th. I have to assume that this story will end in a similar manner, and that they will send us a memo with a good natured chuckle and say "yeah, we're not actually gonna be open CHRISTMAS DAY. Just funnin' ya."

But that still belabors the question, WHY would this even be suggested? Who is actually going to truck into work at a BANK on CHRISTMAS DAY? Moreover, WHO NEEDS a bank open Christmas Day? Even TD NORTH Bank is closed then, and they're stuck open for eternity.

Silly, silly stuff. Just goes to show you, A.) be sure to read your daily updates, and B.) there ARE no stupid questions.

Eagerly looking forward to see how Fiscal United Bank resolves this one :)

And this is what my audience had to say...