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Old 08-18-2008, 03:50 PM   #1
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Banking Before Computers

I know I used banks before computers were common place. I do not remember it real well though. I was thinking about this today and could not wrap my head around what it must have been like before computers. How did banking work 40 or 50 years ago? How did they keep track of the money. If you went to a branch in NYC and withdrew $20 and then went to a branch in NJ how did they know what your balance was?

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Old 08-18-2008, 04:03 PM   #2
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Where does "get in the black" have reference anymore? lol

As far as crossing the Hudson, you would just overdraw the account. It was easier to "gamble" I'm sure. You know, send out a check before the deposit was made. Not anymore, money instantaneously gets withdrawn.
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Old 08-18-2008, 04:20 PM   #3
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I know I used banks before computers were common place. I do not remember it real well though. I was thinking about this today and could not wrap my head around what it must have been like before computers. How did banking work 40 or 50 years ago? How did they keep track of the money. If you went to a branch in NYC and withdrew $20 and then went to a branch in NJ how did they know what your balance was?

Back in the "olden days" when I worked in a bank, you had to present a bank book (passbook) to make a withdrawal. The transaction was posted into the book and the new account balance was posted as well. If you went across town to another branch to make another withdrawal, they would ask for your passbook to record the transaction. Banks are pretty careful about giving out money.

I worked in a bank in the late 60s. The teller machines punched a strip of paper tape which was collected at the end of the day and sent to the data processing center to be recorded into the "mainframe", updating all account balances.
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Old 08-18-2008, 04:22 PM   #4
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Well I guess I did not go far enough back then since you are still talking about data being sent to a mainframe. before banks had computers of any kind, how did they share information from branch to branch to keep everything straight?
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Old 08-18-2008, 04:27 PM   #5
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Well I guess I did not go far enough back then since you are still talking about data being sent to a mainframe. before banks had computers of any kind, how did they share information from branch to branch to keep everything straight?

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Old 08-18-2008, 04:50 PM   #6
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Well I guess I did not go far enough back then since you are still talking about data being sent to a mainframe. before banks had computers of any kind, how did they share information from branch to branch to keep everything straight?

Well, I only go back so far myself, but hand posting into a ledger and a passbook would have been necessary to maintain continuity. Early banks didn't have branches. I don;t know when branch banking was first allowed.
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Old 08-18-2008, 04:52 PM   #7
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Thanks Andy. I had not considered a time pre-branches.
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:04 PM   #8
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My awareness is that you had your branch who were responsible for your money. You either had to make a special arrangement to withdraw money elsewhere or I can remember being asked to wait while they contacted my branch to check the withdrawl was OK.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:27 PM   #9
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years ago i couod not withdraw money from just any branch of my bank. it had to be the branch that i had my account it.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:34 PM   #10
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Yup - had to withdraw money from the bank I initiated the account with. If, for some reason, I absolutely HAD to withdraw money from another branch, a phone call was made. Withdrawing money from other branches didn't happen all that often. For one thing, there weren't all that many branches - lol!!
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