Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Retail banking like it used to be

By buddy Cobb has an interesting post about banking the old-fashioned way, before the internet and all that:
I’ll talk about retail banking in 1980 when I was a teller.Bank

First of all, banks opened at 10am and closed at 3pm, and they were never open on the weekend. If you needed cash only a very few banks had ATMs and there were no ATM networks to speak of. The protocols for Cirrus and the others had yet to be invented and adopted. Also, if you traveled, there would be no banks in say Las Vegas that were the same as your banks in California. No banks were licensed to do business across state lines. So you really needed a credit card, and they were hard to come by. Most people used travelers checks.

So banking was slower and geographically limited and it meant a great deal if you had a credit card or American Express card. There was no Discover. There were no debit cards that were acceptable outside of your bank’s ATM network, and bank ATM networks went bank by bank (until around 1986 or so). So the idea of using a bank card at a supermarket was ridiculous. To get a credit card for a gas station or a department store was a huge privilege. There weren’t many general purpose credit cards.

Nobody had automatic overdraft protection. If you bounced a check, the branch manager at your bank would get a greenbar report of all of the overdraft checks and he would approve or deny an overdraft according to his familiarity with your account and business. [...]

Deposits also took a long time to clear, so you could deposit a check on Monday and it wouldn’t clear until Wednesday or Thursday. If it was drawn on a bank from out of state, they might even put a 2 day hold on it or give you partial credit.

Very few tellers had cash counting machines and they were unreliable. So cash deposits were counted by hand, twice. [...]

In other words, altogether things were slower and people had to be trusted more.
Ah, the good old days.

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