Banking Employees Have to Take Vacations, So Coworkers Can Spot Their Fraudulent Activity
Some of you reading this are so essential at your job that you feel you can never go on vacation. If that’s true, and it’s working hours right now, that raises questions about why you’re goofing off on the internet instead of doing all that important work. But never mind that — the point is, the more indispensable you are, the more important it is that your workplace never lose you even for a few days. If you work at a financial institution, however, your importance might be the very reason you must go on vacation.
For decades, the FDIC, which insures deposits at banks, has held that every single banking employee must take two consecutive weeks of vacation every year. That’s not for the sake of your wellness, but so another employee can totally take over your duties to see if they can spot any shady business you’ve been trying to hide.
If you’ve been embezzling money, reasons the FDIC, you constantly have to play around with the books to cover that up, so if you’re cut off from all records for 14 days straight, your scheme will collapse. If your company flatly refuses to give you two weeks’ freedom, the FDIC is cool with that — again, your pleasure isn’t the main point here — but says they must still move you to a different position for two weeks and rotate someone else in your place.
Logging in remotely during your time off is also a no-no — even back in the 1990s, the guidelines mentioned how the vacationer must be denied electronic access and mustn’t be allowed to puppeteer some other employee into carrying out their bidding. Today, software companies sell dedicated programs for tracking employees on leave to make sure they don’t tap into the system.
So, how well do banks follow these guidelines in practice?
To take one example, the Oklahoma Banking Association looked at that 14-day recommendation and decided, hey, let’s make it 10 days instead, that sounds plenty long enough. Then, when even 10 days seemed too long, they shortened it to five. We’d love to tell you about the massive Oklahoma banking fraud that resulted, but how would we even know about it? Never away from their workstation for more than five days at a time, the criminal managed to cover their tracks perfectly.
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