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Building Bankomat: The development of on-line, real-time systems in British and Swedish savings banks, c.1965-1985


  • Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo
  • Karlsson, Tobias
  • Thodenius, Björn


The massification of retail finance in the 1980s relied on the successful deployment of automated teller machines (ATM) and on-line real-time (OLRT) computing during the 1960s and 1970s. We document how the deployment of ATM networks interweaved with the adoption of OLRT computing in Sweden and the UK (alongside a running comparison of similar developments in the USA). Low transaction volume and small retail bank networks facilitated the early adoption of OLRT by savings banks in America. Although they started their computerisation rather ‘late’, British savings banks benefited from adopting ‘tried and tested’ technology while overtaking clearing banks. Meanwhile, Swedish savings banks spearheaded technological change in Europe. In documenting cases of organizational change in Sweden and the UK, we depart from predominant view that considers the development of OLRT in a single move. We put forward the idea that there are specific conditions inside banking organisations that require considering on-line (OL) and on-line real-time (OLRT) as two distinct stage of development in adoption of computer technology. As a result, we show how in the process of diffusion of OLRT computing enabled the transformation of cash dispensers into ATM at the same time that European financial intermediaries were active in shaping technological change.

Suggested Citation

  • Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Karlsson, Tobias & Thodenius, Björn, 2009. "Building Bankomat: The development of on-line, real-time systems in British and Swedish savings banks, c.1965-1985," MPRA Paper 27084, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27084

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gardener Edward & Howcroft Barry & Williams Jonathan, 1999. "The New Retail Banking Revolution," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 83-100, April.
    2. W. Scott Frame & Lawrence J. White, 2009. "Technological Change, Financial Innovation, and Diffusion in Banking," Working Papers 09-03, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    3. J. Carles Maixe-Altes, 2009. "Enterprise and philanthropy: the dilemma of Scottish savings banks in the late nineteenth century," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 39-59.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. European ATM Conference & the Cashless Society
      by Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo in Light Blue Touchpaper on 2012-06-12 23:22:02


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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Malte Krüger, 2016. "The spread of branch banking and the demand for cash in post-war Germany," ROME Working Papers 201609, ROME Network.
    3. 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.

    More about this item


    cash dispensers (ATM); computers (on-line; real-time); technological change; savings banks; Great Britain; Sweden; USA.;

    JEL classification:

    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • N84 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L63 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Microelectronics; Computers; Communications Equipment


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