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Brilliant Cash Handling

Years ago, like nearly half a century  ago, I worked for Nat West Bank.

I went there straight from school, partly as a result of doing badly in my A levels – my predicted three Bs turned into a B and two Es. I could have told them that would have happened, I was otherwise mentally engaged! And partly because i didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, either at university, or in work.

I did a management development programme for three years before jacking it in and heading off to Middlesex Poly.

Anyway, back then there were note counting machines. We didn’t use them as they were new and untrusted and so everyone had to become proficient at counting large volumes of notes by hand. But they existed. That’s the sense of this post.

Yesterday I went into a branch of HSBC to pay in a wad of notes.

There was a long queue, and a fellow came long to ask me to use the machines. Now I always use the machines to pay in cheques, and I love the little receipt you get with a photocopy of the cheque and paying in slip, but I’d never even realised that there is now a decent machine to pay notes in with.

I just keyed in my sort code and account number, stuffed a large wad of notes into the hopper, and off it went. It counted them, spat a few back that were folded, but waited for me to unfold them and pop them back in. It offered me a figure which was bang on, and hey presto, the money was in my account.

The only question is – how come it has taken over forty years to deliver that technology from the back office to the front? Well, I guess a lot has to do with what I said up front – we didn’t use it because it was new and so we didn’t trust it.


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