Hats Off

A few weeks ago I reported on the new policy by ORNL Credit Union to forbid legal gun permit holders to carry their weapons in their facilities.  Well, now they have another new policy.

Hats off. I know ORNL and other banks and financial institutions have the "Please Remove Hats, Hoods, Sunglasses", etc. on their doors but ORNL management has taken it to another level. Not only do they have a sign on the door, they now require their tellers to ask you to take off your hat.

I went to our ORNL last week. When I got to the counter the teller, whom I know well, said, I'm sorry but I have to say it, as she was pointing at a little sign on the counter. I asked, you have to say what? She said, I have to ask you to take off your hat. I politely said, "well you've done exactly what you were supposed to do". No, I didn't take off my hat.

Of course, I had to fire off a complaint email to ORNL management about their hat policy and of course I got back the same old stuff, bla, bla bla, bla bla bla. I guess my main question was, do they not understand that we don't have to do business with ORNL.

For those that care, below are the emails.

To T. Wayne Hood Esq.

I contacted you back in January to protest the decision to implement a gun free zone at ORNL branches. Of course that was a waste of time. Obviously, you have no intention of listening to members opinions.

As if the gun ban wasn't bad enough, now you want to implement a hat free zone? Have you folks lost your minds? What's next? Pants free zone, underwear free zone? Heck, why don't you just have us strip naked before we enter the building.

I went to our ORNL Tuesday. When I got to the counter the teller whom I know well, said, I'm sorry but I have to say it, as she was pointing at a little sign on the counter. I asked, you have to say what? She said, I have to ask you to take off your hat. I said, well you've done exactly what you were supposed to do. No way I was taking off my hat.

Why on earth would you want to implement such a foolish policy that does nothing but badger your customers and put your employees in such an awkward situation.

There seems to be a serious problem with common since within the ORNL upper management and it seems to be emanating directly from you. I don't know if you are just a typical left wing, pro gun control advocate or just on some kind of a power trip.

I know you are a bright guy with a lot of accolades but I have to ask. You do understand we, the customers, don't have to do business with ORNL don't you?

My hope is that soon common since will once again gain the day at ORNL but it needs to happen very soon. We don't have to take this kind of abuse forever.

Van & Sarah Shaver  

Members Lenoir City ORNL

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Shaver

I am sorry if you believe that I or anyone at ORNL Federal Credit Union does not listen to or take seriously the comments and concerns of our members.  I assure you that this is not the case.  We appreciate that members like you take the time to voice your opinions.  The fact that management does not change a particular policy based upon member comment does not mean that we do not listen to and consider those comments. 

I can tell you that the Credit Unionís policy to not allow weapons inside our premises was revisited at both the executive management and board level after some members expressed their concerns. 

In regard to your comments about hats, this is not a new policy.  The attached sticker has been displayed at our branches for some time prior to my arrival at the Credit Union in November of 2012.  We believe this policy is effective in helping to both prevent fraud and identify those who commit fraud. 

We do try to be sensitive to special circumstances, but unfortunately in todayís litigious world if we do not enforce the policy consistently we risk being accused of profiling.  The negative publicity and potential litigation from such an accusation could be very costly and would come from the funds of the credit union, which ultimately belong to you the members. 

Finally, I assure you that decisions such as this are not made in a vacuum or by one person.  In the case of our security procedures, we sought the advice of law enforcement, security specialists, and other industry experts.  As financial services professionals, it is our duty to implement what we believe to be the best processes for our members and employees, regardless of our personal opinions on a subject. 

We understand that members may not disagree, and we recognize that members have other choices in financial services providers.  We hope that you will consider the benefits of your whole relationship with ORNL Federal Credit Union and determine that it is worth remaining membership even though you disagree with our decision on these matters.

T. Wayne Hood

Senior Vice President and General Counsel

ORNL Federal Credit Union