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Technology in banking

HSBC’s archives contain a wealth of material from letters and ledgers to diaries and drawings.

Our new online exhibition uses images from the archives to chart the developments in technology in banking since the days of pen and ink.

Clerk at work

Pen and ink drawing of a clerk bent over his ledgers. This drawing, from around 1840, shows a scene that would remain unchanged for many years as handwritten ledgers remained the norm until the early 20th century.

Foreign exchange desk

With four telephones and a personal switchboard, this dealer in the 1920s enjoyed the benefits of easier and quicker means of communication with colleagues and clients around the world.

New machines, new female staff

Mechanised accounting using ledger-posting machines, such as the ones in this photograph, became widespread in banking during the 1920s and 1930s and led to the employment of women staff to work the machines.

Early computer

From the 1960s computers were introduced into banking – although the first generation of machines required vast amounts of space.

Cash when you want it

Cash dispensers were introduced in 1967 and gradually became more sophisticated as they were linked to real-time networks and increased the services they offered.

Call centre

With the advent of digital technology, transactions that used to be carried out at the branch are increasingly done online or over the phone.

More about HSBC’s history

The HSBC Group: Our story
The HSBC Group: Our story

How a local bank in Hong Kong grew into a global financial institution.

Download ‘The HSBC Group: Our story’

HSBC’s history in Asia-Pacific
HSBC’s history in Asia-Pacific

HSBC has a long and rich history in Asia – providing banking services to governments, companies and individuals.

The bank’s history and archive collection in the Asia-Pacific region

Frequently asked questions

Learn about the founding of HSBC, the significance of the lions and the origins of our iconic hexagon logo.