FBI Trains Banks To Be Friendlier to Robbers Than to Customers

The FBI is training banks to be super-nice to robbers, as the unexpected friendliness can throw thieves off guard and have them walk away from a crime.

…The method is a sharp contrast to the traditional training for bank employees confronted with a suspicious person, which advises not approaching the person, and at most, activating an alarm or dropping an exploding dye pack into the cash.

When a man walked into a First Mutual branch last year wearing garden gloves and sunglasses, manager Scott Taffera greeted him heartily, invited him to remove the glasses, and guided him to an equally friendly teller. The man eventually asked for a roll of quarters and left.

So if you want really good customer service from a bank, be sure to pack a ski mask with your passbook. — BEN POPKEN

Banks try charm to deter robbers: If youre a bad guy, it scares the lights out of you [AP]


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  1. mac-phisto says:

    excellent advice, ben. you should follow it with, “be sure to walk out of the bank with your hands in the air to avoid being shot by approaching law enforcement.”

  2. mikesfree says:

    Do you need a hostage? Right this way sir… Then take them outside and lock ’em out!

    But really, when things dont work like they are planned, it messes some people up. He may have just expected to go up to the teller and deal with one person at one angle.

  3. Why don’t they just be “super nice” to EVERYBODY? Make the thieves not want to rob the bank in the first place. Not to mention making for better customer service.

    Hell, the entire idea that you’d have to train someone in a customer service capacity to be nice to ANYONE, robber or not, is indicative of how much customer service has fallen by the wayside.

  4. bpotterr says:

    What if he was just coming to the bank for a roll of quarters while taking a break from gardening on a sunny day?

  5. KivaWolf says:

    Seriously this has GOT to be a joke! I mean yes it may throw the thieves off guard for a moment but seriously what is usually the first thing a robber says? “Get down on the ground and SHUT UP!” This only means that you are actually inviting yourself to get shot just for annoying him with the so called “friendly greeting”. What a waste of resources!!

  6. oldhat says:

    This is a a great solution to stop bank robberies!

    Lets apply this across the board:

    Swarthy Arab on the plane? Bump him up to first class, give him a foot massage. He’ll think twice about using that box cutter now!

    Driving While Black? Give them police escort through all the lights, offer to fill their tank for them at the police station garage. That will put off their plans of drive-by shootings!

    Lazy Mexican Day Laborer? Give them a job and pay them what you would pay a professional instead of peanuts. That will keep them off the streets!

    Genius! Who knew the FBI was so competent?

  7. Youthier says:

    @KivaWolf: I don’t think so. A friend of mine works at a bank that was recently robbed and this is on par with what they learned.

    I think in general, the bank robbers don’t want to hurt anyone. Most of the robberies aren’t like in the movies with huge heists. Generally, it’s one person working alone to get whatever the cashiers have on hand. They don’t want to clean out the safe because it takes a long time and increases the chances they’ll be caught. They just want the money (smaller bills) and to get out without being identified. Let’s face it – once you kill someone, the local police care a lot more about catching you than they do when you get away with a few thousand dollars.

    But yeah, it would be nice if banks used these skills on customers.

  8. GlassBottleLoveAffair says:

    This is fairly good advice. For one thing, it helps keep the tellers from totally freaking out and possibly making the situation worse. Hell this is like customer relations 101. An angry customer has about as much adrenaline worked up as a robber would and the best way to catch them off guard is to be pleasant to them. It makes them lose their edge. Sure, they may still walk out with the cash, but its possible that since their more relaxed then when they worked themselves up to actually commit the crime that they might slip up. A smile and a pleasant tone is all it takes.

  9. megnificent says:

    This makes perfect sense to me. I’m a former bank teller, and my mom used to be an ops manager for a community bank in Seattle. Her branch was completely open, and whenever someone walked in the door, at least 5 heads came up and said “Hi.” They were never robbed in the 3 years she worked there despite every major bank within a 5 block radius getting hit. They know that they were cased on several occasions, but when multiple people recognize your presence (and are noting your appearance) it makes you that much easier to catch.