I applied for a new credit card the other week. I wanted one that wouldn't charge me loads of money for using my card abroad so I looked around, found the best deal and applied on-line. I filled out a few basic details, sent my application off electronically and within 45 seconds was told that I had been approved and issued with a credit limit of £12,000! I also opened a savings account with similar ease.
How different it was in 1956!
"To open a banking account you need ready cash (banks welcome even a few pounds) and the name of a sponsor. New clients are asked to sign the Bank's signature book or cards, to give their address, and the name and address of someone whom the Bank can apply for a reference. In some cases two references are required."
(it then goes on to explain who can be a sponsor, what they must write and how long it will take to check everyone's credentials!) It concludes by saying:
"We may add that when you get to see the manager of the Bank for the first time-for all new clients are introduced to him- this is not the moment to bring up the subject of a very small overdraft"
I have never met my Bank manager and any contacts I have had with my bank in recent years have been on the phone (when I am usually told that no one can help as I can't remember my password) or through the virtual cyberspace banker!