The Digitalisation of the Banking Industry. Information and Communications Technology in the Savings Banks of the FRG and the GDR, 1954–1991
Completed PhD project
The digital transformation changed the banking industry in Germany from the ground up. The aim of this PhD project was to analyse the interactions between the deployment of computers by savings banks in East and West Germany and socioeconomic developments during the second half of the twentieth century.
Since the emergence of the banking industry, one of its core functions was to collect and process data. With the introduction of the computer from the early 1960s, data processing in the sector once more received a major boost. Banks functioned here as processors of computerisation in Germany. They were the location at which economic data was processed in ever greater amounts. They constituted data centres for municipal entities or persuaded them, by means of granting loans and cashless transactions, to acquire computer technology. At the same time, they transported the technology into people’s everyday lives. Customers, as well as bank employees, were confronted in the branch offices for the first time with computer technology.
Four focal points of this development can be identified: first, the increasing importance of software as compared with hardware. Second, progressive networking beyond the room itself. Third, a rapid acceleration in the tempo of economics and society. Fourth, the flexibilization of work processes, products, organisational sequences as well as everyday activities. In methodological terms, a social historical perspective under consideration of technological developments was to be combined with an economic historical perspective for the purpose of answering the questions posed.
Martin Schmitt successfully completed his dissertation at the University of Potsdam on 16 March 2020. Read more (tet in german)
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History
Am Neuen Markt 1
Email: schmitt [at] zzf-potsdam.de