As the world evolves, so do the security challenges facing banks and financial institutions.
Those challenges include more than just digital threats. Bank managers must also look out for the safety of their customers and assets.
Despite the rise of online banking, in-person bank security guards are as crucial today as they were in years past — for a number of reasons we’ll cover below.
Keep reading to learn why your bank could benefit from hiring a security guard. We’ll also share several best practices for hiring the right security guard or security firm for your bank’s needs.
1. Robberies are Always a Risk for Banks
Technically, bank robberies are on the decline in the United States. This is great news, but it doesn’t change the reality that financial institutions are still at risk.
In fact, it’s not the frequency of bank robberies that’s concerning. It’s the severity of what banks could lose if robbed.
Here’s a closer look at some of the statistics.
According to the most recent data from the FBI, there were a total of 1,964 “Violations of the Federal Bank Robbery and Incidental Crimes Statute” between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.
The vast majority of these crimes took place at commercial banks and credit units. About 85% percent were committed at the bank teller’s counter.
Of those 1,964 bank robberies reported to the FBI in 2021, just under half involved the threat of a weapon, such as a firearm or an explosive.
Most of these incidents did not escalate to actual violence. However, they did result in at least 11 injuries, 3 deaths, and 28 people taken hostage.
Furthermore, a security guard was rarely on duty when a robbery occurred — only for 146 of those incidents.
That’s a good sign that it may not be enough to rely on alarm systems or bank security cameras alone.
Note that according to the FBI, not all bank robberies are reported to them. The FBI has stated that their statistics may not be a complete representation of the current state of bank robberies within the US.
2. Humans Can Intervene in Ways That Tech Cannot
As stated above, bank security officers were on duty during fewer than 10% of all bank robberies that occurred in 2021. Less than half of those guards were armed.
It’s well known that every bank uses some form of security, even if they don’t employ security guards. The most common bank security practices include ATM cameras, CCTV surveillance systems, alarm systems, door locks, and emergency response procedures.
Having said that, nearly all recent bank robberies happened at financial institutions that use security cameras and alarm systems. Very few robberies occurred at banks that regularly employ security guards.
Alarm systems and surveillance cameras can go a long way to maintaining the security of your bank. But the intuition of a well-trained and experienced security guard will always take that one step further.
Most criminals don’t want to rob a bank that has active, in-person private security guards on the premises. Although we can’t say for certain, that may be one reason why so many recent bank robberies have occurred at banks without an on-duty guard.
The mere presence of a security guard is often enough to deter or prevent a crime. Security guards are better than alarm and camera systems when it comes to protecting customers, employees, and the banking institution as a whole.
That’s because humans are more attuned to notice red flags and unusual behavior, which busy bank employees may otherwise overlook.
In addition, there’s some really interesting science about how human intuition can help us identify criminals. As it turns out, humans are quite skilled at it.
3. Bank Security Guards Can Deter Insider Threats
Statistics show that employee theft and crime are believed to be one of the greatest risks posed to banks and other types of financial firms.
In particular, access control is a major issue for financial institutions.
Insider risks for banks may include, but are not limited to:
- Stealing customer data and using that data to create and profit from fraudulent bank accounts
- Stealing and then selling customer data, such as Social Security Numbers
- Skimming funds from inactive or rarely monitored bank accounts
Hiring for more bank security guard jobs can play a key preventative role in helping financial institutions to monitor and mitigate risks from disgruntled employees.
That’s because the physical presence of an on-duty bank security guard makes the working environment of a bank feel more monitored and secure.
It also demonstrates the banking institution’s commitment to security and oversight, which can make employees think twice before acting on an impulse.
Use security guard services to deter employees from taking criminal action.
4. Customers Feel More Confident When Banks Have Security Guards
Bank security guards do more than simply deter people from committing crimes. They also have the potential to make customers feel more confident when using your bank.
Studies have shown that when people are in situations that they perceive as unsafe, they feel safer when they see law enforcement and professional security guards patrolling on foot.
In other words, bank customers can feel confident knowing that your financial institution has more than one security measure in place in the event of a sudden robbery or heist. Customers are likely to feel safer using a bank that has security guards on regular patrol than a bank that has no security guards at all.
5. Security Guards Can Immediately Respond to Incidents and Emergencies
Hopefully, your bank or financial institution will never need to rely on security services in an actual emergency situation.
The good news is that in the unlikely event of criminal activity or another emergency situation, a bank security guard can immediately jump into action and intervene. This applies whether you’re using unarmed or armed security guards.
Having one or more security guards on bank property can reduce emergency response time by several critical minutes or more. Using security guard services can empower your institution to better protect its staff and customers until law enforcement or emergency services have arrived — often saving lives in the process.
This is also why it’s important to hire security specialists who have CPR, first aid, or first responder certifications and training.
6. Bank Security Guards Provide Better Oversight and More Regulatory Benefits
There are several bank security needs that overlap with regulatory and compliance requirements.
At some financial institutions, security guards are responsible for more than just physically monitoring the property. They’re also expected to design the security systems, strategies, and procedures that not only protect customers, but also protect customer data. Protecting customer data is a key responsibility of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions, which are necessary to comply with banking laws.
In other words, a sophisticated and well-trained bank security service can play a major role in helping banks comply with security and privacy regulations.
Likewise, security guards can assist with records maintenance and reporting suspicious activities.
Read About: 43 Shocking U.S. Burglary Statistics for 2023
7. Bank Security Saves Money in the Long Run
If you’re like most bank managers, you probably run a cost-benefit analysis before making most of your decisions. So, let’s crunch a few numbers.
This may sound like a drop in the bucket, but that’s because it doesn’t factor the associated risks to customer and employee safety, data, and privacy.
These risks can be even more costly for your financial institution. Not to mention that if your bank becomes the target of a robbery, the fallout can result in mountains of paperwork and countless hours spent on public relations.
These risks put a great deal of money at stake. They can also deter potential customers from opening a new account with your bank.
How to Find and Hire Security for Your Bank
Now that you’re more familiar with the benefits of hiring a security guard for your bank, it’s time to hire one.
Below, we provide some basic tips to help you get started. You can find even more tips by reading our guide to hiring security guards.
Job Description and Requirements
When hiring a security guard, make sure your job post includes a comprehensive job description of the security role you’re looking to fill.
Specify basic requirements. These may include a high school diploma or GED. It could also include a minimum number of preferred years of experience in fields like security solutions, law enforcement, private investigative work, or the military.
Most financial institutions hire a security firm rather than a single security guard. Use the above qualifications when interviewing potential firms about their own hiring practices. This will also give you a better idea of their security guards’ knowledge, experience, and abilities.
Part-time or Full-time?
Determine whether you’re looking for part-time or full-time security guards.
You may need a combination of both. For example, save money by hiring part-time guards to supervise your bank’s parking lot or provide special event security. These are also roles that may not require as many years of on-the-job experience.
Job Alerts and Platforms
There are various platforms where you can post jobs for security personnel or browse listings for different security companies. Security Explorer is one of the best and easiest to use, and can help you find the right service for your budget and needs.
Companies like Allied Universal specialize in providing trained security personnel. Their security officer job alert options can notify you when suitable candidates become available.
Skills and Specializations
Different banks and financial institutions will have different needs.
Some may prefer to hire skilled security specialists who have direct experience with handling high-stakes legal and regulatory issues. Other banks may want their security officers to be trained in certain skills, such as first aid or firearms training.
Tailor your job post accordingly. Look for candidates who not only meet the basic requirements, but who also have specialized training or multiple years of experience in the type of security you need.
Interviews and Screening
When you’re ready to make a hiring decision, invite potential candidates to tour your facility. This will give them an opportunity to see your security needs up close and write an accurate estimate. Make sure the estimate is itemized and factors in any labor, supplies, or overhead expenses.
You can also use this time to conduct an informal interview and get a better feel for the firm’s services and professionalism.
Note that several states enforce different training and certification requirements for security officers. Ask the prospective security firm how their guards are meeting those requirements.
Hiring a security guard to protect your financial institution’s customer and property is more essential than ever.
If you are a bank owner or manager, it’s encouraged that you regularly evaluate your current security systems and procedures to ensure they’re still meeting the bank’s needs. Consider hiring a security guard or a professional security firm that can oversee this work on your behalf.
At Security Explorer, financial institutions in California can visit our bank security services page to the best professional security services in your area.Read More
Society has found many ways to keep our homes, communities, schools, businesses, and cities as safe as possible. We have everything from law enforcement agencies to CCTV technology and neighborhood watch programs.
That doesn’t change the fact that paying for a little extra security can buy you peace of mind.