New York Fed Research Library
In 1961, the Merchandise National Bank of Chicago produced a film presenting the newest development in leading-edge banking technology: computers.
The computers enabled bank employees to process checks in a fraction of a second as well as access customer information saved in databases. This modern machinery included magnetic reel-to-reel tape and an automatic typewriter, among other space-age tools, and processed 30,000 transactions in three-to-four hours of computing time. This film provides an illuminating view of the early days of electronic banking.
Since then, banking has experienced a number of revolutions. Check clearing has evolved into an increasingly electronic format with the introduction of the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act. Most checks are now presented to financial institutions as electronic images, changing the way that the majority of checks are processed. For more on current check clearing practices, read about the New York Fed’s role in check processing.
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