Technology and Credit Bank
Credit Bank pioneered the import and use of technical equipment. It was the first bank in Greece to use ATMs and cashcards. The bank also established Alphaphone, the first home banking application in Greece, and Alphalink, the first card payment and automatic transaction authorisation system. Credit Bank’s technology collection includes technical equipment used from 1960 to 1990.
The technology used by Credit Bank from 1960 to 1990 includes machines that are typical of that period, including:
- Imperial 66 typewriter (photo 1)
- NCR automated teller machine (photo 2).
- Olivetti LOGOS 58 electronic calculator (photo 3).
- INTERVIEW 4500 interactive data analyser by Atlantic Research Corporation (photo 4).
- Olivetti M 300-02 UNISYS computer (photo 5).
On a path to technological upgrade
From the 1960s onwards, Credit Bank made an active effort to modernise its equipment. It started with mechanical equipment before moving on to analogue and digital as technology evolved.
Already since the mid-1960s, the bank made the most of the available technology to carry out the payment and, more importantly, the discounting of notes. At the turn of the next decade, the issue and payment of cheques and orders were also computerised.
Later on, the bank sought to computerise its entire range of operations in both the central and the regional branches. At the same time, it adopted the teller system, so that customers would only meet one employee at a given branch, with any operations that did not require the customer’s physical presence being pushed to a later time.
Technology partnerships and autonomy
To get technological support for its operations, Credit Bank teamed up with Time Sharing Hellas SA. The company was the official dealer of General Electric and Honeywell-Bull computers in Greece.
In 1975, however, the bank started operating its own IT centre. The centre was housed at the purpose-built multi-storey building on 105 Athinon Avenue.
The first mainframe the bank had installed was a Univac 90/30.
Transition to an online system of operations
By 1978 the bank had the technological infrastructure required to connect with the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) and Reuter international networks.
In 1981 a new mainframe was installed. This allowed the transition to the first online applications. Credit Bank was also the first bank in Greece to use Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and cashcards.
A year later all the branches were able to go online and use deposit and withdrawal applications in real time. Along with the expansion of the ATM network, cashcards also became extremely popular.
In 1983 sight accounts and checking deposit accounts were also connected to the bank’s telecommunications network (Creditnet). By 1985 the network installation had been completed and all branches were able to operate online in real time around the clock.
Innovative applications and services
A new IT system installed in 1987 further changed Credit Bank’s already computerised operations. Thanks to the system’s architecture, it was possible to constantly adapt to new needs and support new applications.
In 1990, this infrastructure allowed the bank to launch Alphaphone, the first home banking application in the Greek market. The new application enabled account holders to access banking services over the phone.
The same year saw the launch of Alphalink, the first card payment and automatic transaction authorisation system operating through the bank’s devices.
In 1992 Alphaline completed the range of new online services offered to customers. Alphaline was the first customer service system that could be accessed through a personal computer.
A new accounting plan
Thanks to the possibilities afforded by IT, the bank introduced a new accounting plan in 1992.
Applications that had been carried out manually or were partly computerised until then were now executed by the bank’s new IT system. At the same time, online transactions gradually facilitated administrative tasks at branch and operations level.
Credit Bank’s technology collection includes many typewriters, calculators and franking machines.
The equipment covers the years from 1960 to 1990.
The Alpha Bank Historical Archives are not open to the public.
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