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Banking on change: information systems and technologies in UK high street banking, 1919–1969

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  • Bátiz-Lazo, Bernardo
  • Wardley, Peter

Abstract

This article looks at the experience of management of technological innovation and mechanisation by British financial institutions. It highlights the indigenous assessment of technology, reflecting on local and American influences in two types of business organisations within the financial sector to demonstrate the nature of responses and the timing of the introduction of new methods and machinery. The adoption of Information Technology (IT) and computer applications in particular play a crucial role, though one that is intimately connected with a strategic expansion of corporate business, this growth being reflected in terms of size of business and also territorial expansion, as each of the institutions considered here constructed a national network of retail branch outlets. Discussion of established literature for the high street banks is combined with archivally informed analysis of similar, but previously undocumented, developments on the part of building societies. By taking a long-term view of these developments in the twentieth century, and by comparing the experiences of two different sets of institutions, the article highlights the strategic factors that influenced the decisions taken by senior managers in their transformation of British retail financial services.

Suggested Citation

  • Bátiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Wardley, Peter, 2007. "Banking on change: information systems and technologies in UK high street banking, 1919–1969," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 177-205, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:fihrev:v:14:y:2007:i:02:p:177-205_00
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo, 2017. "Between Novelty and Fashion: Risk Management and the Adoption of Computers in Retail Banking," Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance, in: Korinna Schönhärl (ed.), Decision Taking, Confidence and Risk Management in Banks from Early Modernity to the 20th Century, pages 189-207, Palgrave Macmillan.
    2. Colvin, Christopher L., 2015. "The past, present and future of banking history," QUCEH Working Paper Series 15-05, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    3. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo, 2007. "Emergence and Evolution of Proprietary ATM Networks in the UK, 1967-2000," MPRA Paper 3689, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Bátiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Haigh, Thomas & Stearns, David L., 2014. "How the Future Shaped the Past: The Case of the Cashless Society," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 103-131, March.
    5. Maixe-Altes, J. Carles, 2012. "Las cajas de ahorro y el cambio tecnológico antes de Internet, 1945-1995 [Technological change in Spanish Savings Banks before Internet, 1945-1995]," MPRA Paper 37726, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Bernardo Batiz-Lazo & Masayoshi Noguchi, 2011. "Accounting for dominance and submission: Disciplining building societies with accounting-based regulation, circa 1960," Discussion Paper Series DP2011-34, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    7. Thodenius, Björn & Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Karlsson, Tobias, 2010. "The history of the Swedish ATM - Sparfrämjandet and Metior," MPRA Paper 27083, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. John Singleton & James Reveley, 2013. "Business Associations as legitimacy-seekers: the case of CLCB," Working Papers 13005, Economic History Society.
    9. Maixé-Altés, J. Carles, 2015. "Divergent Paths to a Network World. An Approach to the IT from Savings Banks Industry," MPRA Paper 67785, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Bernardo Batiz-Lazo & Gustavo A. Del Angel, 2016. "The Dawn of the Plastic Jungle: The Introduction of the Credit Card in Europe and North America, 1950-1975," Economics Working Papers 16107, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    11. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Martínez-Rodríguez, Susana, 2022. "Gender and the financialization of Spanish retail banking, 1949-1970," MPRA Paper 114629, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Rouse, Marybeth & Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Carbo Valverde, Santiago, 2020. "All about the state-Fifty years of innovative technology to deliver an inclusive financial sector," MPRA Paper 102159, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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