[SIGCIS-Members] Computers in banking @ Halifax
bbl4 at btinternet.com
Sat Aug 16 00:18:11 PDT 2008
A note to those interested in the history of IBM or computers in banking, you might want to get a hold of
Barrow, Richard (2006) Fifty More Years of the Halifax 1953-2003, Halifax: HBOS & Richard Barrow
ISBN 13: 9780955298301It is available through Amazon on both sides of the pond.
This is a personal but detailed account of the computerization of the Halifax Building Society (the largest mortgage specialists in the UK for much of the 20th century). His memory was helped by unfettered access to the historical records at HBOS in Edinburgh. Style and tone are rather colloquial but there are a number of 'pearls of wisdom' as well as an insight into management thinking and events that will not be available otherwise (as HBOS has a 30 year closure period policy for its records).
Halifaxwas unique not only because of its size but also given that it built its own systems based on IBM assembler. They never (or only by exception) purchase 'of the shelf'. Instead their policy was to 'build from scratch' and their motto was "anyone would be fire if they bought IBM". Barrow tells of different encounters in which top management was assaulted by 'Big Blue' but always decided in favour of the in house team.
I have recently interviewed Barrow and will be posting the transcript within the sigcis website, where he clarifies details around the deployment of ATM technology.
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