Technology has impacted every aspect of our lives. For us in the banking and financial services industry, it has been a journey of change and innovation at great speed in the last decade or so. We asked Richard Campbell, Chairman of Astra Bank to reflect on some of these technological changes he has seen over the years and how they have impacted the bank’s business operation.
Richard shared with us the progression from “everything done by hand” to using typewriters, then computers and now the dynamic world of Internet and mobile banking. He spoke about the time when bank officials had to do hand filing of checks using the Burroughs Sensimatic which was basically, a glorified calculator with ledger sheets. Compare those days of “manual labor” to digital check imaging today and it’s plain to see why life is so much simpler today.
Manual posting to ledgers used to be a laborious and time-consuming task. Lengthy loan documents had to be typed out and there were no copiers, only carbon paper. Yes, we know, it’s hard to find carbon paper today and aren’t we all happy about that—less carbon, more green! Richard fondly refers to his first typewriter as a real “heavy critter” and cringes when thinking about the times when a mistake was very costly. You had to type out loan documents in 3 copies using carbon paper. Trying to fix a mistake was not only difficult, it was often impossible so you had to start over. He’s “upgraded” to an IBM Selectric III typewriter, which has correction ribbon to help take care of the occasional typo, but still is one of the few individuals in the bank that continues to use a typewriter.
Today, with computers, the Internet and web-enabled mobile devices, speed and efficiency have both gone up tremendously. Does that mean customer service requires less attention? On the contrary, says Richard, the customer is on the go and expects and demands better service. So while transactions and documentation have become easier with technology, our customer service levels are continually put through the wringer with technological advancement. If we don’t raise the bar every day in small ways and big, our customers will move to other banks and we cannot let that happen. “We have had generations of families and businesses bank with us. It is a matter of pride for us and we won’t ever give that up,” promises Richard on behalf of all the staff at Astra Bank.
We're with you on that Richard!