There she is, my relationship banker hidden inside her cubicle prison, looking out of the corner of her eye hoping that she will have a good day today.
I stand in queue as my needs today are primarily transactional, but when faced with a young female cashier with the look of angst in her brow, I can’t help but agree to an appointment to meet a banker regarding new offers.
I knew I was going to see Lucy, my relationship banker since she helped open my account for me and my husband over a year ago. I also know that Lucy is not particularly keen on being here, working for this bank. But it makes for a funny conversation, plus I could really use the opportunity to review my finances.
I enter Lucy’s cubicle, and she stands up to greet me. She knows me and understands that I empathise with her situation. But she looks tired, really, very tired. As she clicks away at her computer, she acknowledges this by saying, ‘I’m so tired, I could cry.’
She then resumes by saying, ‘I’ve decided…I’m going to resign.’
‘What, really!?’ I exclaim, half shocked, half expecting this scenario.
‘Oh, yes. I’m just tired of this place, of busting my butt for nothing, of being asked everyday, “what have you done today?”’
She picks up a business card from a deck she spills over with fervour, hands it to me and says: ‘Look…just look at my title. What does it say?’
I read ‘Relationship Banker’ and nod. She continues, ‘It’s like everything I am expected to do these days goes against the whole aspect of building a relationship.’
‘Wow, Lucy, I’m sorry to hear that. I really like you and can’t imagine having a different relationship banker.’ Then I ask, ‘If one thing changed today to keep you here, what would that be?’
‘The rankings’, she said. ‘The “what have you done today” mentality.’ By ‘rankings’ she meant the notion of selling more versus the quality of the sale. The mentality at the bank has turned into ‘more is more’ therefore, ‘push for quantity’, and Lucy clarified that this push was at the cost of losing favourable client relationships. This short-term mentality also meant that employees such as Lucy were heavily impacted, emotionally and financially. ‘When are you turning in your resignation?’
Lucy half smiles responding: ‘At the end of today, depending on how today goes.’
‘What’s the determining factor, Lucy?’
‘If I get my bonus. It’s a pittance to begin with, but at least it’s some form of acknowledgement.’
‘What will you do if you resign?’ I ask.
Lucy yawns then says, ‘Take a break.’
Neda Bayat is Global Business Consultant for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc. and Breakthrough PerformanceTech, LLC.