Computers displaced the NCR 2000, a machine banks used to post savings account passbooks and related ledger cards.
How many working bankers operated the NCR 2000, or, at least, remember this machine? Probably none. But I remember the NCR 2000 well, somewhat sentimentally, because, as a teller, I worked with it often.
As a bilingual foreign department teller, relief savings teller, and relief commercial teller, I juggled three different windows, in three separate departments, maintaining a foreign department journal, filling out three separate daily balance sheets, keeping three cash boxes and answering to three individual supervisors.
As part of the NCR 2000's system, the depositor received a fine looking passbook, similar to a passport, with the gold name and logo of the bank engraved on the cover, together with a protective sleeve. The depositor's name was typed on the passbook, which had lines and columns for withdrawals, deposits and balances.
The ledger card was similar to the passbook. It had the same format, except it was a bit longer to provide space, at the bottom, for the depositor's signature and, in an adjacent box, the initials of the officer opening the account.
The signature card, containing information about the depositor, was placed under lock.
Officers kept in their custody a working supply of pre-numbered passbooks, ledger cards and signature cards sets. Officers, not clerks, opened new accounts.
The NCR 2000 posted deposits and/or withdrawals, simultaneously, on passbooks and ledger cards, which were inserted together in the machine, on a movable carriage lined up with the next available line.
A running register tape, reporting all the transactions put through during a business day, was inside the locked NCR 2000. At the end of each day, an officer would clear the machine, and extract that portion of the tape with the day's activity.
The same officer compared the individual transactions marked on the register tape with those printed on the ledger cards, and also with the deposit and withdrawal tickets. Furthermore, the officer verified the signatures on the withdrawal tickets with those on the ledger cards.
On an adding machine, the officer calculated deposit tickets and withdrawal tickets, and compared their totals with the relative totals on the register tape.
The amount of interest earned, based on the lowest balance for the quarter, was simply found on a chart, then penciled on the ledger card, and machine-posted at the end of the quarter.
As a corollary benefit, the system functioned as daily audits of the savings department operations.
Passbooks, printed with the NCR 2000, provided the depositor with a clear record of the deposits and withdrawals they had made, and the balance, that very important figure of how much they had in the bank.
Computers, as fast that they may be, do not provide depositors with the same quality service of yesteryear: an elegant passbook containing all the transactions clearly printed in a logical order on its pages.
Over his 50-year career in banking, Ugo Nardi worked his way up from a teller to an auditor, lending officer, state bank examiner, and a bank president. He retired in 2000.