Emergence and Evolution of Proprietary ATM Networks in the UK, 1967-2000
Through archival research we investigate the impact of the introduction of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in British retail banking. Contrary to the experience in the US, in the UK the ATM has been largely neglected by historians and management scholars. Technologically, cash dispensers preceded ATM and were originally a British innovation but U.S. (e.g. IBM and NCR) and German manufacturers (e.g. Siemens) took the lead as the ATM became a global technology. The evolution of the ATM illustrates how banks adopted on-line, real-time computing for the entire branch network and highlights the role of network externalities in financial markets. From a business history perspective, the ATM epitomises a shift in bank strategy, namely how applications of computer technology moved from being potential sources of competitive advantage to being a minimum requirement for effective competition in retail finance. Research in this article traces the origins of this process of competitive change in British retail financial markets, by looking at the emergence of proprietary networks and their evolution into a single national network at the same time that cash dispensers transformed into ATM.
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