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It's banking Jim, but not as we know it

Wells Fargo's Guided by History blog has unearthed a great architectural curio from the early 1970s. To celebrate its centennial year in 1972, NorthWest National Bank created and staffed a space age 'Future Bank', which was intended to give customers a peek at banking in the 21st century.

Future Bank tellers were dressed like extras from Star Trek and customers were invited to try a number of far-out automated banking systems, including video phones and TV teller stations that promised "mechanical efficiency with a personal touch". Documents were passed back and forth through a series of pneumatic tubes.

Most of the customers - and banking staff - who tried it thought it would never catch on. One bank executive declined to use the Future Bank at all, saying, "I don't push buttons."

A former Future Bank team member tells Wells' History blogger Bill Taylor: "Our opinion of it at the time was that no way would this sort of banking ever exist. Boy, were we wrong!!!"

Which made me think: What would your Future Bank look like? Given that we're looking some 35 years down the line, I think I can safely predict (without fear of ridicule by some future blogger in 2044) that the retail bank of the future will be nothing more than a series of atomised widgets, self-selected from some giant 'utility banking' app store on the InterWeb. Oh yes, and pigs will have been genetically re-engineered to sprout wings.


Comments: (1)

Sriram Natarajan
Sriram Natarajan - Credit Risk Fraud Cards Professional - Gurgaon 05 July, 2009, 06:43Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Well, I can safely predict that many of the banks in 2044 will be government owned,trading in exotic electronic virtual products and going to the virtual central bank for a bailout.

Paul Penrose

Paul Penrose

Head of Research


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06 Oct 2006



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