St lukes branch

St Lukes Branch.

header5

Technological innovation in the Auckland Savings Bank had its roots in the early 1950s, when a staff member, Merv Corner, was sent to investigate banking mechanisation processes in the United States. He assessed a development by National Cash Register (NCR) which allowed for mechanical updating of passbooks at the same time as a transaction took place. The system was cumbersome, and Corner decided that greater advantages might be attained pursuing computer-based data processing.

After a second visit to the United States in 1966, Corner assembled a small team under the auspices of the Electronic Data Processing Area (EDP). The strategy was to progressively put the entire bank on a computer system, supported by a 360/30 IBM computer with 60k of memory.

The system cost 375,000 and took three years to go online and train the staff. In 1969, the first two branches, Hobson Street and Wyndham, went on to real time processing. They were the first in the Southern Hemisphere to do so; the ASB was one of only a dozen banks internationally, pursuing real time processing. For the bank staff the change meant that accounts could be accessed on line directly in the branch, with transactions updated instantly. No longer did staff have to select ledger cards nor work out interest calculations before posting ledgers; it was done automatically.

By 1978, the progressive investment in computerisation had reached the point where 78 of the 83 branches were covered by the system, assisting the computerised payment of salary and wages. As final branches went on line in 1979, the bank purchased fifty new teller terminals and supporting equipment for $825,000 as well as its first word-processor and 58 adding machines for back office functions. By 1983, the 12 trustee banks achieved a national computer link-up, giving customers access to deposit and withdrawal facilities throughout the country.

The Auckland Savings Bank, which had pioneered computerisation in the banking sector in New Zealand, would continue this pursuit of technology-led innovation through into the 1980s, with the installation of the first Eftpos terminals, ATMs, the first internet banking product, BankDirect, and the first online share trading account.

© The University of Auckland Business School