Slim and Franke

Slim and Franke

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

IN OLDEN DAYS


This weekend I found myself telling true tales about events in my life as a banker. These I had not been given reason to recall in a very long time.

1968 found me taking my first banking course. The professor teaching the class had told us some outrageous predictions involving the future of banking. This instructor, a banker himself, told our class of skeptical minds that the day was coming when everyone would have a plastic card, much like a credit card, but this card would access our personal checking accounts. This card, he told us, would eventually eliminate the need for anyone to write checks or carry cash. This check-card would enable us to go up to any machine and purchase even a can of soda pop. The cost then of that carbonated drink would come directly out of our checking accounts. This classroom of modern day, upcoming bankers burst into laughter at the absurdity. After all most of us had only been introduced to desk top computers in the workplace and we were still struggling to learn how to use them.

I was glad that I had this class because in the late 1970's my employer asked me to take the responsibility of installing our bank's first ATM (Automated Teller Machine). We were a front runner in that field and it was my duty to see that the machine was installed and up and running in a timely manner. I was required to determine the software, the hardware, the physical building of the machine casing at the front door of our facility, work with the telephone company for the connections and make the arrangements with all vendors involved with the installation. I was also my responsibility to make arrangements for making the cards and getting them to our customers and encouraging them to use these debit cards. (Getting anyone to use these very strange cards was the most difficult part.)

The ATM was ready to go and it only made sense that I be responsible for the maintenance and repair. The rest of the bank staff was not familiar with the machine and this left me responding to the machine calling my pager for repairs at all hours of the day and night. As a single mom with two small children at home, this meant getting the kids out of bed and taking them with me to the bank to implement the needed solution. After doing this on my own for several months it became clear to management that this probably was a dangerous job for a young woman with children to complete on her own and new protocol was implemented. All of the bank officers would be required to train on machine repairs and take turns carrying the pager plus no calls would be answered after midnight. It was not a happy time for the other members of the repair party and the louder the complaints and the more powerful the voices, better remedies were soon found.

Little by little other banks became involved and more ideas for servicing these machines came into being and now, as you know, armored cars do most of the servicing of these machines.

I was telling this story to a young woman who could not imagine a time without debit cards and ATM machines. This young woman had a job that required her to be out at night and go in and out of a facility in the dark. Sometimes it required her, a single mom, to take her young daughter with her and this mom was extra cautious and concerned about their safety. So while a lot has changed over the years and banking and computers have progressed, single parents are still required to make scary sacrifices for their daily bread.

21 comments:

  1. Annie, this reminded me of that old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

    Technology has changed our lives, but it doesn't seem human aspects of life have changed.

    Enjoyed this!

    Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

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  2. True...glad you are past all of that.

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  3. The last time we were in the States we were so shocked to find drive thru cash machines! That is something that we don't have in the UK at all, but it did make me think that for women (well anyone) this must be a safer way of drawing out cash in the early hours of the morning.

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  4. Talon -- so right -- "The more things change the more they stay the same".

    Riot Kitty -- Part of me is glad to be past all that and part if me misses the opportunities it provided me.

    LL Cool Joe -- Even the drive-up cash machines are dangerous. Unsavory characters have hidden in the shadows to creep out and rob the drivers. I rarely use a cash machine and if I must, I use an indoor machine that has lots of people around.

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  5. Yes, I do remember the days before our debit cards and ATMs. When a trip to the bank really meant a trip to the bank. I love this walk down memory lane because I remember as a young mom, trying to write a check at the market with babies in tow. I'm so glad those times are behind us - the check writing but I do miss the babies in tow.

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  6. I don't think that single moms get the honor and respect they deserve at times.

    I think you did a great job!

    Sandie♥ HAPPY THANKSGIVING

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  7. So true. And as a single woman - I never go to cash machines during odd hours. I just get cash back at the grocery store if I need it. Or I use the one inside the Publix I go to.

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  8. Marla -- One of my memories is standing in line at the grocery store to cash a check with Saturday clothes on and messy hair and two small children in tow. I was behind a hot, skinny blonde with an out of state two party check and the young manager smiled and happily cashed her check even though she left her ID in the car. The he gave me the 3rd degree to cash my $10 personal check on a local bank and was not even impressed when I told him I worked at that bank. LOL

    Chatty Crone -- Sandie, hope you have a happy Thanksgiving as well. Let me tell you that my children will never forget those late night excursions thinking their mom was quite the big shot.

    Lynn -- Glad you are a cautious woman in this time of horrific happenings.

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  9. I resisted ATMs for a long time, but I find them indispensable now. But I don't use them at night!

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  10. kenju -- We stopped using ATMs when fees were attached to the transactions.

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  11. I use my local ATM once a month or so. I now do most of my banking online to save money on postage and it appears it is relatively safe with my firewalls, etc. Fascinating story!

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  12. I only use the ATM when I need cash -- otherwise I use my debit card.

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  13. I think '70 was pretty early for the atm card services- I wasn't forced into trusting that system of transactions until the late '80s.

    I was a single parent n it's true that they are the hardest working folks! I too took kids to work, closed a restaurant at 2am alone, dangeroously took risks, n drove thru unplowed n icy roads, all the the name of survival. n we did!

    Try to tell kids of a time when the phone wire restricted you to the wall 5 feet away, n they look at you like your an idiot!

    In 20 years so much is different-
    But most resist all the change they can as long as possible.
    If the Earth suddenly never had power again, todays kids would be so lost!

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  14. Woops forgot to say
    Happy Turkey Day to you!

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  15. Happy Thankgiving Granny!

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  16. When our bank first installed an ATM machine I went there with 4 Grandchildren in the car.

    I told the kids that I had special powers and when I knocked on the wall a certain way the bank would give me money.

    So we got to the bank and the kids all crowded around this miracle machine and I put my card in and pin number then tapped on the wall three times and MONEY came out! I thought the kids would faint! They got so excited...

    ..They are all grown up now and still talk and laugh about the time the bank gave Nanny all that money.

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING, ANNIE

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  17. I had to drag my mother into the ATM times. She refused to get a pin code and to get her money out of the wall. But she loved her credit card...lol

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  18. Tabor – I too pay most of our bills online. Don’t you wonder how many people still refuse to enter cyberspace and don’t you wonder if they might be the smarter ones?

    Kay – We rarely use our Debit cards. It is better for us to pay with one credit card and pay that balance off each month. Debit cards are much more difficult to stop payments or correct fraudulent usage than credit cards.

    Snaggle Tooth – I love the reminder of being tethered to a phone cord before the days of cordless. Yes that would have to bring a laugh from young people who have missed that lovely experience. LOL

    Dani – I’m betting your Thanksgiving was wonderful and filled with delicious garden vegetables.

    Nancy – Once again you are a hoot. OMG what a great trick to pull on children. I wish I had done that to mine back in the day. However I still did a good job of convincing my kiddos that I had “special powers”.

    Holland – I love my credit card too but not if I have to pay any interest or fees for using it. It was sure great to see a comment from you:)

    Cannot wait to hear about everyone’s Thanksgiving celebration.

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  19. Gee, in 1975, I left my cozy home for the first time and went to nursing school. The hospital where I did my clinicals had a huge room with a huge machine that was their spanking new computer system. I was amazed, but never had reason to use a computer. Now, I am doing my banking online and find my ATM card indispensible, but am afraid of debit cards for fear that someone will get hold of it and wipe me out. My husband refuses to learn how to do the online banking and doesn't like the AMT, so he definitely has to die first. (He can't cook or do laundry either) It amazes me that you were into computers and AMT's in 1968. Do you see computer chips imbedded under our skin in the near future? I'm happy that you lived through your single handed machine repair. Thanks for an interesting post.

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  20. This modern technology stuff has sure come a long way! I use the ATM quite often and do feel safe using it at night if I need to. However, we are small town, but I am still watchful and cautious, because in this day you can't be too careful!

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

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  21. Kacey -- it was fortunate for me that I was always curious and while I was skeptical of computers,I was willing and eager to give them a shot. Many of the people I worked with in the 60's refused to learn such crazy stuff but finally most of the women got on the band wagon. When I retired from banking in 2000 there were several men banking officers who still refused to learn the computers and relied on their assistants. I'm betting they either know now or are gone.

    Rachel -- I truly hope you and yours had a most special Thanksgiving.

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