First crooks take the chance

“Hands up, money here! It’s a robbery! ”When masked people used to come to a bank branch, the situation was usually clear and precarious. The employees knew immediately what to do: trigger the silent alarm, keep calm, wait. The corona pandemic is also fundamentally changing this area of ​​life. Masks have also become mandatory in many financial institutions – as unusual as this may be there. There is a patchwork.

In some federal states it is now mandatory or at least advised to wear a mask in credit institutions, according to the private banking association. These included Bavaria, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. In Baden-Württemberg the obligation only applies if a sale takes place as in a post office, in other federal states banks are not explicitly mentioned. Only in Lower Saxony is it not mandatory to cover the mouth and nose. Details can be found on the Internet at

Prohibited by domestic law

But just when entering a bank, wearing a mask could feel even more unfamiliar to some people than the new everyday life anyway and bring a touch of the forbidden or even criminal. There was never a ban on masking such as for demonstrations and public gatherings in credit institutions. And yet customers were prohibited from hiding their faces in the branches of banks and savings banks.

The institutes have generally banned the wearing of masks or motorcycle helmets by domestic law – with the exception of religiously motivated face veils, says Postbank. In order to curb the spread of Covid-19 and ensure the safety of customers and employees, bank customers in most federal states would now have to wear mouth-to-nose coverings during their stay in the branches and keep them at least two meters away from others, says Claus Wolf from Postbank. Protection against infection is currently a top priority.

Sometimes the masks have to be ventilated. For certain banking transactions, such as opening an account, the bank has to establish the customer’s identity beyond any doubt, says Wolf: “Our employees therefore ask customers to briefly remove the face mask at the counter so that they can match their face with the photo on their ID card.” be separated by plexiglass panes. In addition, the minimum distance to the next customer should then be observed. In the self-service area, on the other hand, mouthguards should be worn permanently, says Wolf. When withdrawing money from a machine, for example, the customer identifies himself by entering his PIN (PIN) and not by facial recognition. Anyone who is not allowed to wear a respiratory mask due to an illness such as asthma must submit a medical certificate.

Bank robber with corona mask

And what about in practice? In a large branch of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt there are notices about the mask requirement and general protective measures at the front door. “Important information: We also have the obligation to wear mouth and nose protection. Please understand that we can only allow you to be protected in this way. ”However, as everywhere, not all people take such regulations and the dangers of the corona virus seriously.

Of the three people in the self-service area at the same time this Saturday morning, only one wears the mask of entering the bank. A customer comes and goes later without any protection. The third party at least puts the mask on when he waits for the banknotes to be issued.

The new, unfamiliar environment naturally attracts crooks. In future, employees in the banking halls of credit institutions will probably have to be even more attentive and vigilant than usual – not just when it comes to complying with protective regulations. If in doubt, they could ask customers to lift the mask or even leave the business premises, according to bank circles. Some institutes also rely on more presence by security personnel. In May, however, a bank robber saw his chance in a Sparkasse branch in Mönchengladbach and took advantage of the new “favor” of the hour. The man took out his gun and escaped with a corona mask and prey.

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