Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Many bank tellers get public assistance to supplement wages, report shows

Almost a third of the country's half-million bank tellers rely on some form of public assistance to get by, according to a report released Wednesday.

Researchers say taxpayers are doling out nearly $900 million a year to supplement the wages of bank tellers, which amounts to a public subsidy for multibillion-dollar banks. The workers collect $105 million in food stamps, $250 million through the earned income tax credit and $534 million by way of Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, according to the University of California at Berkeley's Labor Center. The center provided the data to the Committee for Better Banks, a coalition of labor advocacy groups that published the broader study on the conditions of bank workers in the heart of the financial industry, New York. In that state alone, 39 percent of tellers and their family members are enrolled in some form of public assistance program, the data show.

"This is the wealthiest and most powerful industry in the world, and it's substantially subsidized by our tax dollars, money that we could be spending on child care or pre-K," said Deborah Axt, co-executive director at Make the Road New York, one of four coalition members.

Profits at the nation's banks topped $141.3 billion last year, with the median chief executive pay hovering around $552 million, according to SNL Financial. In contrast, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the median annual income of a bank teller at $24,100, or $11.59 an hour.

For its report, the committee spoke with 5,000 bank tellers, customer service representatives and technicians about their pay, benefits and treatment in the workplace. Workers bemoaned their poor wages and long hours without overtime pay.

Alex Shalom, 20, works part time at a Bank of America branch in Manhattan, where he makes $13.50 an hour, or $14,000 a year. The pay is barely enough to pay rent and cover his tuition at Hunter College, Shalom said. "It's not a livable wage," he said. "Bank of America is making all of this money … but we're not getting paid for holidays."

Another common complaint among bank workers was the intense pressure to meet sales quotas.

Although banks have rebounded from the depths of the recession, analysts say they are still contending with economic headwinds that are placing pressure on revenues. As a result, they say, institutions may be less inclined to raise wages and maintain full-time staff.

Comments
Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

TAMPA — Mortar & Pestle, a fledgling Seminole Heights eatery with a mom-and-pop pharmacy theme, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Seacoast Bank was listed as the creditor with the largest unsecured claim: $1.4 million.The restaurant...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Jay Fant doesn’t mention his bank failures in application for banking regulator

Jay Fant doesn’t mention his bank failures in application for banking regulator

State Rep. Jay Fant touts his experience leading his family's Jacksonville bank as justification for becoming the state's banking regulator.But in his application, released Wednesday, he doesn't mention the most important aspect of his experience:...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Florida reacts as Trump eases ‘zero tolerance’ border crisis

Florida reacts as Trump eases ‘zero tolerance’ border crisis

WASHINGTON – In a remarkable about-face, President Trump signed an executive order ending his policy of splitting up immigrant families who cross the border, an acknowledgement that the issue had spun out of control and created national ou...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Jack Shreve, 85, stood up to utilities on behalf of Florida consumers

Jack Shreve, 85, stood up to utilities on behalf of Florida consumers

Jack Shreve, a long-time champion of the rights of Florida consumers in cases involving telephone and utility companies seeking higher rates, died June 12. He was 85 and was a long-time resident of Tallahassee.Shreve served two terms in the state Hou...
Updated: 17 minutes ago

Column: It’s time for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to process concealed weapons licenses

It is hard to believe that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs didn’t discover for a year that an employee could not log into an account needed to see results of background checks that examined, among other things, whether applicants f...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Pergolas’ Saturday morning volunteer work started like most, at a farm cleaning the property and trimming trees. Andrea Pergola, 38, stood on the driveway of the property when she heard her 15-year-old son Logan scream. At first, sh...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

The best of what's on stage across Tampa Bay this week.
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Hillsborough County commissioners on board for return of ferry service

Hillsborough County commissioners on board for return of ferry service

TAMPA – St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman cleared another hurdle in his bid to bring back a seasonal ferry service between his city and Tampa when Hillsborough County commissioners agreed to back the project.Kriseman is asking the  C...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Twenty-five years ago, I was a reporter at WTSP-TV, out in the field covering Tampa Bay’s Independence Day celebrations. I expected an easy assignment talking about families and fireworks. Then the newsroom called with an urgent message: I needed to ...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Food events: Wine dinners, ancient drinking games and Filipino food

Food events: Wine dinners, ancient drinking games and Filipino food

This week's best food events across Tampa Bay.
Updated: 29 minutes ago