Walden Savings Bank is a customer-service focused, community-oriented thrift based in Montgomery, New York, with 110 employees in 10 branches in southeastern New York State.
Prior to signing up for Harland Clarke’s Bank University (Bank U), Walden had a very informal teller training program and no other employee training. The bank knew it needed to implement a formal, customized training program for all staff in all departments, in order to help employees grow in their careers and to ensure that they were in compliance with banking regulations. Walden, which did not have the internal capability to develop a comprehensive training program in-house, needed a vendor with a program already in place that could be customized as needed.
Walden signed up for Harland Clarke’s Bank U in the fall of 2007 and tailored the program to fit its needs. All employees took a basic online course in telephone etiquette. Then employees were assigned required monthly compliance courses, as well as quarterly courses that were selected based on their position. Over the course of a year, an average employee took a minimum of six courses, each of which might take from 30 minutes to three hours to complete.
The vast majority of classes were online and completed during work hours; the bank gave each employee time off in order to complete the coursework. Some employees chose to take the classes at home at their convenience. Certain courses, especially at a supervisory level, where feedback and face-to-face interaction were important, were customized for a classroom setting. All Bank U grades were used as part of each employee’s performance evaluation.
With Bank U, Walden has offered courses on dozens of topics, including fraud, leadership training, customer privacy, fair lending and flood disaster. Bank U is not just for teller training; it is used within all departments at Walden.
Thus far, all Walden employees have passed all courses; employees cannot progress to another course without passing the one they’re taking. A passing grade is 80 percent (out of 100). In one recent course for platform supervisors on privacy, a total of 74 tests were completed, with an average score of 91. Before Bank U, there was no clear-cut way for Walden to evaluate the knowledge level
of its employees.
Bank U has enabled Walden to greatly expand the level of training it offers employees. In addition, Bank U keeps everyone up-to-date on compliance and regulation changes. Walden management is particularly pleased with the efficiency offered by Bank U. Employees can take courses on their own time, without the need to leave the branch for lengthy periods, thereby avoiding disruption to the level of customer service.
Probably the biggest benefit has been in terms of staff satisfaction, as Bank U helps to establish a career path for Walden employees based on where they would like to grow within the institution.