Banking on change: Information systems and technologies in UK high street banking, 1919-1969

Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo*, Peter Wardley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the automation of the supply of financial services by British high street banks and provides a comparative assessment of the impact of similar developments in the USA. Its aim is to provide a historical perspective to highlight the longevity of organisational change in the financial sector and to emphasise its remarkable continuity: UK clearing banks and building societies faced very specific problems to which they adopted particular responses. Office mechanisation, from the adoption of office equipment pre-1914 and 'mechanical banking' in the interwar years to its culmination with computer technology in the late 1950s and beyond, was introduced after emergent capabilities had been evaluated in terms of costs and benefits. Innovative practices and procedures associated with the accounting function were introduced but the utilisation of accounting information for command and control remained largely unchanged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-205+119-123
JournalFinancial History Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

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