Bank Tellers Rely On Public Assistance, Too

If you think working for a bank is a  good idea, because a bank is a lucrative business, a business which is responsible for handing out the currency that keeps the economy running, the people working, and the masses fed, then why are bank tellers in the same boat as fast food workers and Wal-Mart employees?

VIA CBS Money Watch

Taxpayers spend $899 million annually in state and federal benefits to support bank tellers and their families, according to a new report from The Committee for Better Banks.

One-third of bank tellers receive some sort of public assistance, ranging from Medicaid to food stamps, the financial industry employee advocacy group found, citing research from the University of California-Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. In New York state, almost 40 percent of bank tellers and their family members are enrolled in public assistance programs, costing the state and federal governments $112 million in benefits.

“Bank workers in New York, across the nation and around the globe are being squeezed, very much as other hourly workers in the economy are,” the report noted. “Banks’ internal employment practices, just like their external practices, increasingly drive inequality.”

It’s not as if banks can’t afford to pay their tellers more, judging from a surge in executive pay: Compensation for the top 50 financial chief executives rose by 20 percent in 2011 and 26 percent in 2010, the study notes.

Take Wells Fargo (WFC) chief executive John Stumpf. Listed as one of the country’s most overpaid CEOs by Bloomberg, Stumpf earned $22.9 million in 2012, a raise of almost 16 percent from his 2011 pay of $19.8 million. That makes him the highest-paid top executive among the country’s top commercial banks, according to The Wall Street Journal. Profit for the company jumped 19 percent in 2012, helped by a surge in mortgage-banking income.

So what does the average teller at Wells Fargo make? Less than $11 an hour, or about $22,600 a year, according to job site While that’s above the federally mandated baseline wage of $7.25 an hour, the pay is low enough to qualify a family of four for food-stamp benefits.

“It’s not a livable wage,” Alex Shalom, 20, a part-time worker at Bank of America (BAC), told the Washington Post. “Bank of America is making all of this money . . . but we’re not getting paid for holidays.”

16 Comments on "Bank Tellers Rely On Public Assistance, Too"

  1. I remember my surprise when I first learned just how little Bank Tellers actually earned.

    My personal ethics require me to retain a MUCH higher percentage of money that I handle. No way I’d do that job for the pittance they earn.

    • Eric_D_Read | Dec 10, 2013 at 10:12 am |

      As little as they make, you’d think there would be more bank robberies with inside help.
      I can’t imagine working for such a wealthy employer for so little money unless it was to case the joint.

      • As a former bank teller. I can tell you I was there because it was that or live on the street.

        Also robbing a bank is pretty much a dumb idea. There’s surprisingly little money kept on site. Not to mention that for all the cameras you see in the public areas there are about twice as many in the teller/employee areas.

  2. Tellers who work for credit unions are better off.

    Move your money out of traditional banks and into credit unions. There are zero disadvantages, except you don’t get to bitch about your big bank anymore.

  3. Anarchy Pony | Dec 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm |

    McDonald’s is a lucrative business too, doesn’t mean the guys behind the counter are millionaires.

  4. InfvoCuernos | Dec 9, 2013 at 10:37 pm |

    Sort of like the dog with the treat balanced on his nose-“NO! Not for you!”.

  5. misinformation | Dec 10, 2013 at 3:25 am |

    This just in! Low skill job pays low wage! Spread the word…

    • PAUL WHALEY | Dec 10, 2013 at 9:31 am |

      I would like to add even though low skill pays low pay , why should 1 person make MILLIONS of dollars, when the workers who actually do MOST of the cant even make a living wage work, some thing is wrong with that picture

  6. VaudeVillain | Dec 10, 2013 at 4:30 am |

    When the businessmen say they want to “cut costs”, the cost they’re talking about is, generally speaking, You. Whatever field you work in, whatever job you do, whoever signs your checks, somebody out there wants you to do more work for less money. Normally, there’s a pendulum effect to keep them in check, but the past several decades we have experienced a deliberate, concerted effort to eliminate the factors that makes it swing back.

    Capitalism is “Fun”!

  7. Spasmodius | Dec 10, 2013 at 8:37 am |

    “It’s funny to walk into a bank or a grocery store and watch the tellers and clerks. A good Toxick Magician knows how to watch them and manipulate them. He knows that they feel that they have a little power—and they do—but they are taught not to abuse it, because it is a sign of bad taste.
    Just watch them drool as they count out the money or say “no” to someone. Then watch them hang their little heads as they gaze blankly at their paychecks.”
    Dr Hyatt, the Psychopath’s Bible

  8. Simon Valentine | Dec 10, 2013 at 11:05 am |

    in Soviet Russia, “in Soviet Russia [sic]”

    Byzantia with a hint of Babelium

    when was the last time you encountered an anthropological chronicler?

  9. trompe l'oiel | Dec 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm |

    this is some really foul stuff, and I’m a plague doctor for Pete’s sake…. that says a lot about how gross this all is.

Comments are closed.