Local News

Local Banks Balance Safety and Convenience

Posted January 21, 1999

— A Raleigh credit union was robbed Thursday, and the teller was hit by a bullet fragment. But what's being done to protect you?

What happened at Carolinas Telco Thursday is what every bank employee dreads. A gunman walked in and demanded cash.

There were about 250 bank robberies in North Carolina last year, but less than 8 percent involved violence like Thursday's hold-up.

That is why banks and credit unions are careful to balance safety with convenience.

A teller at the credit union was injured by a bullet fragment during Thursday's robbery.

The suspect was caught after a chase that took him right past a Triangle Bank branch.

"It's scary, because it just happened right down the street here, and I had seen some police officers go by," said Kerry VanEaton, a teller at Triangle Bank.

He says employees are trained to handle scenarios like the hold-up that was caught on videotape.

"No matter how much money we lose, we're the most important part. I feel scared, but I also feel very safe working here because of the security measures taken by our bank," said VanEaton.

Cameras capture every transaction by every customer and usually help police catch their man.

Posters can also help by offering rewards for information about hold-ups.

"You want to do everything you can without chasing your customers away, because you've done too much," said Paul Stock of the N.C. Bankers Association.

Banks and credit unions have to balance security and convenience. The safety of employees and their customers is a top priority.

"It really is frightening. Although there have been a few incidents in North Carolina of some violence, we've been really fortunate to have not seen much over my 20 years of experience," said Stock.

Banks in many metro areas have security guards or police officers stationed inside. You do not see that much in North Carolina. And you probably will not see it in the future, because so few robberies involve violence here.

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