November 7, 2005

Wal-Martization of Banking in Massachusetts?

If there is one group of people who will benefit most from check-cashing at Wal-Mart in Massachusetts, it is people who are NOT regular bank consumers. But the Massachusetts Bankers Association apparently doesn't care about people who do not use its member's services:

"We think it is a bad turn of events," said Bruce Spitzer, communications director at the Massachusetts Bankers Association. "Do bank customers really want to see the Wal-Martization of the banking industry? We don't think so."
This man cannot be serious. What exactly will the average consumer be missing? Well, it's conceivable that there are bank customers who prefer to pay more for their banking services in exchange for nicer tellers and structures, more locations, etc. but bank customers aren't the only "stakeholders" here -- both bank tellers and noncustomers will be affected. I think non-customers will clearly benefit, so let's move on to bank tellers. As far as they are concerned, the Wal-Martization of the banking industry -- if that process is to be understood as a moving towards a bare-bones, low-cost, low-salary model -- occurred long, long, ago.

In 2002, the median hourly earnings of full-time bank tellers was $9.81 ($10.15 in 2004), in line with what Wal-Mart pays its mean hourly worker. About 1 out of every 3 tellers works part-time. So it's not as if bank tellers will be made worse off financially by working at Wal-Mart (though it is plausible that Wal-Mart will want a check-cashing teller to work odd hours).

Posted by Kevin at 3:40 PM