Risk Watch with Alberta Quarcoopome: Best practices for reducing internal fraud (II)

Alberta Quarcoopome

(recruitment and induction)

“It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed”

Dear readers, last week I refreshed the topic of preventing internal fraud in banks through effective induction programmes for new entrants. In addition, there is a need for existing staff to be refreshed regularly while coaching and mentorship programmes are also instituted throughout the institution. It is never too late to learn new things.

The Preparation

Ensure there is an induction pack containing only useful or interesting information – a brief of the bank’s history into a one-pager, with head office and branch locations; and if possible include site maps with relevant buildings/rooms/routes already highlighted for them. A copy of the timetable should be included in the pack. The appropriate stationery and name-tags should be prepared before arrival of the beginners. What a pleasure it is for inductees to arrive and see their name-tags already in place! It shows the bank is waiting for them in anticipation and looking forward to welcoming them into the family.

Creation of loyalty starts from day-one. An official from the Training department should call the new hires and give them clear directions to the training venue or through google maps, and the time. This is to prevent inductees arriving late, sweaty and feeling embarrassed. The seating and workspace for inductees should be productive. Gone are the days when any wooden chair looked appropriate. Comfortable seating arrangements facilitate absorption and interaction.

The Bonding

The induction period is a time to ensure there are no holds barred in ensuring there is bonding between the inductees. When inductees become bonded to each other they rarely succumb to any temptations in the workplace. The peer pressure to excel is great. Sometimes they feel like school-mates. Even though they are eventually located in various geographical regions in the country, they still share a bond and confide in each other for advice when they have issues in their workplaces. Creating a special unique email or WhatsApp user group with a catchy name of their choice for sharing motivational messages among the inductees is useful for bonding. Issues of keen relevance to the group are to be communicated through this channel. It can also be a channel for the e-learning programmes that should follow an induction.

Involvement of Senior Managers and Directors in the induction

The welcome ceremony should be warm. This might be through welcome speeches. If the CEO is not available, why not show a pre-recorded video welcome address by the Chief Executive Officer? It would be creative and come as a pleasant surprise. At least a few management personnel should grace the occasion during the opening ceremony. We must never underrate the importance of these personalities’ presence. There are other sessions during the induction when others should be present. These are the Q&A sessions or joining the group for lunch. In addition, there should be a few representatives of management at the closing ceremony. This is another opportunity to send the message that new entrants are valuable to the bank as they are ushered into the real face of banking to start work.

Swearing the Oath of Secrecy

One of the cardinal rules in banker customer relationship is swearing the bank’s oath of secrecy. Inductees are obviously coming from various workplaces, institutions and sectors. This is the time that the bank needs to strike while it’s hot! Usually, a member of the legal department supervises swearing the oath of secrecy – followed by the inductees signing the oath. This is the time when banks can use some time to give cases of staff who flouted this principle.

Why am I saying this? The reason is: we should not wait for cashiers to shout customer’s names and balances in the banking hall in such a manner that third-parties can hear them! These are inadvertent disclosures by staff which can land the bank into legal suits! Beginners should not always learn by making mistakes and being corrected. A stich in time saves nine. Next time inductees are swearing the oath, they should feel that it is not a laughing matter. This is where they sit up and know that the banking profession involves a contract between the customers and the bank. Maintaining the duty of confidentiality for customers’ affairs is a sure way to prevent fraud.

Essentials of induction programmes

This usually involves basic knowledge of the Institution: Since there is no world without a history, similarly there is no organisation without a history – whether good or bad. Man learns from history. The background of the bank, its vision, mission and values should be instilled into the inductees from day-one.  Others are:

  • The bank’s goals and directions.
  • An overview of the company, the organisational chart and functions of each department.
  • How the inductee’s department fits into the company
  • The Team’s ground rules.
  • Job descriptions.
  • Performance Appraisal and career prospects.
  • The company’s technology and the policy on emails, passwords, etc.
  • Employer and employee rights and the terms and conditions of employment.
  • The legal and compliance requirements for working in the company.
  • Health and safety of the new staff.

Last but not least, there should be an intensive education on risk-awareness in terms of people risk, systems risk, process risk and risk from external events. A few case-studies of losses incurred by the bank from these will enhance sharing lessons.

To top it all up, the bank’s offenses and sanctions policy should be communicated to inductees. This creates a final icing on the cake with respect to the bank’s zero tolerance level.

Some smart guys with bad intentions to make quick money are forced to think twice when they are informed the bank is on top of fraud methodologies. Although fraud can be perpetuated on any desk in the bank, eventually it is exposed. As it is said: “Every day for the thief, but one day for the master”!

  • Case studies, role-plays and videos on risk management

Until we reach the grave, we all know that knowledge is power. Many modern training programmes for adults should be about thirty percent activity based. Instead of volumes of verbose power point presentations, many concepts and knowledge are best learnt in activity-based training and group work. This enables the facilitators to have a fair idea of the level of knowledge grasped within the period, and also to plan the way forward. Role-plays and short videos give emphasis to concepts underpinning the programme, and actors in the scenes take ownership and even do better to depict the scenes expected of them.

Inculcating a sense of value among inductees

  • Do you know that the appointment and acceptance letters between the employer and employee is a psychological contract? If one party breaches it, it can dilute the level of commitment and loyalty on the party.
  • How can we avoid new starters leaving and feeling undervalued, disillusioned, bored or even being scared-off?
  • Do you promote a guided tour of your Head Office building?
  • Are the inductees introduced to key members of staff? Are all key operational and social areas visited? (e.g. Offices, Catering Facilities, Library)
  • Are they shown various entry and exit points, as well as made aware of security within the bank?

Let me pause here.





Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She is the Author of Three books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller: A Strategic Partner” and “My Front Desk Experience: A Young Banker’s Story” and “The Modern Branch Manager’s Companion”. She uses her experience and practical case studies for training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations and fraud.


Website www.alkanbiz.com

Email: alberta@alkanbiz.com  or [email protected]

Tel: +233-0244333051/+233-0244611343

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