MY WORKING DAYS in the CBC BANK
I joined the CBC, Head Office in February 1954 after completing my Intermediate Certificate, a shy 15 year old.
I started in the Outward Exchange Department on the 4th Floor, with Tom Grace and Joan Hardman in charge. I was in that department for 12 months before being transferred to the Ledger Department on the ground floor.
During my time on ledgers I worked on several different sets and made some lifetime friends with those girls.
A few years later I was told I would be learning the new proof machine that was to be installed in the exchange department. You may remember them, they were large machines that had 20 boxes to sort and balance the work as it came in. I enjoyed learning something new and once trained I then had the job of training the staff on the other machines that were to be installed. I was made senior girl in the department and did that job for about six months. During that time I was sent to Melbourne Office and Brisbane Office to train and install the machines there. I was away for 4 or 5 weeks on each occasion. The machine was also installed in Haymarket Branch.
Back then to the ledger department before I learnt the Sensitronic Ledger Machine to be installed in the ground floor ledgers. I actually sat in the main banking chamber and demonstrated the machine to those customers and staff interested. I assisted the training of staff for those and when installed I returned to ledgers and operated one for around 12 months.
I was then trained on the Addressograph machine that was installed in the old switch room on the 4th floor. I pressed some thousand or so metal plates with customers addresses which were then used to print envelopes for bulk mailing.
After that job was completed I was then transferred up to Mechanisation Department with Ron Cooper in charge, on the 9th Floor where I assisted in training of staff that came in from the branches to learn various types of accounting machines. Occasionally I would be sent to branches to train staff there.
The things I will always remember about the CBC are the Sports Days,
Tennis at Wolstoncraft with Bill Single among others, Squash at North Sydney, the Bank Holidays Ski trips we made to the snow squashed in the back of a Kombi Van and all the many friends I made during those 10 years.
It was from Mechanisation Department that I resigned in February 1964 to be married and moved to Fiji to live with my husband, a sugar chemist with CSR’s, South Pacific Sugar Mills for three years before transferred back to Sydney.
We settled at Bilgola Plateau on the Northern Beaches and had three beautiful sons who grew so quickly we needed more room so I decided to go back to work to help with the extensions to the home.
I rejoined the bank at the clearing centre at St. Leonards after 11 1/2 years out of the workforce, in 1976 and took a job working from 4.30 pm to 12.30 am. Monday to Friday. This suited me as I still had a 3 1/2yr old at home. I felt I had taken a huge leap through time as the Systems Dept. were just starting to design the magnetic encoding for the bottom of the cheque forms when I left the Bank and here it was in place and there were machines reading that information and sorting as it did so. I especially remember an incident at the centre one night when I was sitting at the desk adding a column of figures in my head. One of the girls came across to me and asked what I was doing. I replied that I was just adding up this column of figures. She replied “But there is an adding machine over there”. I said I know but I have done it now. “But how do you know it is right?” Well you add it up and check it for me. She came back with a surprised expression on her faced and said “It is right!” So even at that time people were starting to depend on machines instead of using their brains.
Another night I was there Vic Martin, and some three others from HO came into the department. I went across to ask if I could help and he looked at me and said ”I know you”. I said yes I worked in HO for 10 yrs. and I’m back after 11 1/2 years. He told me it was great to have the old girls back again.
I was surprised that after all that time that he remembered me. I worked at St. Leonards for two years before gaining a transfer to Dee Why Branch with Jim Henderson as my Manager.
I enjoyed my 2 1/2 years at DY. and I learnt all I could about Branch Work, Telling, General Hand, and then Securities. The incident I remember most about DY was when the Gold and Silver price soared in the late Seventies and we did several transactions for our customers in both buying and selling. One day a customer came into the branch and I went to the counter to help him. He said he had some gold to sell and put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a crumpled handkerchief which revealed several gold filled teeth. I heaved when I saw them and then said calmly “I’m sorry sir, we don’t deal in that type of gold. That would have to be sold back to a dentist.”
During my time at DY branch the CBC “merged” with the NAB. There was a slow and subtle change for some time.
I was called to the phone one day just before Christmas 1980, and when I answered it was Bob Bromley our Regional Manager. My first thought was “What have I done wrong”. He asked me how I was and then told me he was placing me at Avalon Beach Branch as Accountant. My reply was “You can’t do that”. He asked why and I replied “I don’t know enough to be accountant”. He said he had the utmost faith in me and I would be starting there after my holidays in the New Year. I told him I would do my best and thanked him.
The Manager called me into his office and I told him what I had said to Bob Bromley and he laughed and congratulated me.
January 1981 saw me starting at Avalon Beach with Cliff Dunn as Manager. They were a good group of staff but no one knew anyone else’s job so I started training staff to cover sickness etc.
It was a happy 2 years there, close to home, only 8 mins. drive down off the Plateau.
Cliff was transferred to Brookvale Branch in the October and I had 2 relief Managers until Reg Manning arrived to take up his duties. One of the relief Managers told me he would arrive at 9 each morning and leave at 4. A few weeks later he told me I had lovely ankles and a few weeks later asked me if I would like to see the planters wart on the sole of his foot. He also dishonoured anything that overdrew the account by $5 or more. Once the notices were typed and given to me for signing I would destroy those that I knew had security or would only be a short term debt and replaced those cheques in the work. I knew, that had they been sent out, there would have been a mass transfer of accounts. When this kept up for several weeks I phoned Bob Bromley and suggested that he replace him or there would not be any customers left for the new manager.
Another incident I remember clearly was mid morning one day and the manager was out of the office and only two customers being served, the door burst open and with a “Hoo Hoo Hoo” an ape ran through the door. My first though was we were being robbed. He jumped up onto the counter and stepped over the tellers boxes to the end teller, put his hand in his pocket,
“Do apes have pockets”? And pulled out a banana and a written message which he read to Kathy. I realised then it was a banana gram that someone had sent as it was Kathy’s birthday. With that he jumped down off the counter and with another “Hoo Hoo Hoo” left the bank!
Both staff and customers were in a state of shock for a few seconds and then everyone started laughing. And wasn’t I glad it wasn’t a robbery!
Bob Bromley on a visit in early 1983, told me he wished to place me as a Manager in a small Branch. I was honoured that he thought I could do the job but I said I was sorry to disappoint him but I did not need any more responsibility as I had a 9 1/2, 13, 15 yr old and husband at home.
I did suggest that if I had to move on from Avalon could I go into a training role as I felt there was a need for that. He said he would see what he could do. A few days later he phoned and told me there was nothing available in the training area but he had found something that he thought I would like.
He told me about the forming of a new department “The Electronic Banking Services” department to market the new electronic products that the bank were introducing and Marketing staff were needed for that. Said it sounded quite different and I would give it a try.
The staff organised a farewell for me with a gift and card. On the card was written “You are a very good teacher and we are sorry to see you go”.
So in early 1983 I reported to Graham Owens in Qantas House on 16th, 8th, 19th floor??? Graham was Manager and there were three Marketing Officers and three Service Officers to start the department. Kendall McDonald, David Patten and myself. We would do the marketing and the service officers would install the EFTPOS machines and service when needed. We were really starting from scratch - it was the time that the banks were introducing the EFTPOS system.
We had to develop a package with information of what we were selling, Organise meetings with Bank’s customers who could be prospective users of the system or call on them and explain the system to them and hopefully sign them up. We worked individually and I must say the first few meetings presenting the product to them was a steep learning curve.
However, by knowing the product I soon settled into the job and began enjoying the challenge.
We covered a great deal of the state and each of us went in a different direction. I chose the coast from Newcastle to Murwillumbah. I Enjoyed the job as we were working on our own and we tried to outdo each other with sign ups. I would only travel away 1 week in 4 having the family at home and the other three weeks I would concentrate on our customers in the City and Metropolitan area. One incident I remember was when I called at Kempsey Branch where the Manager had assembled about 40 or so customers and staff to hear of the EFTPOS machine. At the beginning the customers were very wary of the system and I had one customer who was firing questions at me from the very start. Without trying to convince him that the machine would be beneficial to him I answered every question he asked. All others in the room were leaving him to ask the questions. In the end he threw up his hands and said “O.K O.K. I’ll get one. I really believe he was trying to catch me out.
In about 1986/7 the Bank also introduced a payroll package “Paypartners”.
I then learnt that product and started marketing that. By this time the department had grown and we now had around 13/14. There were other products that were marketed also.
I had about 9 1/2 years with Electronic Banking and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. I saw parts of NSW that I had not seen before e.g. Drove the road to Bourke and Walgett, Lightning Ridge, and down to Mudgee; also suburbs in the Metropolitan area that I didn’t know existed. I could have taken a cab drivers job and managed quite well.
I resigned from the Bank and the E.B.S. department in 1992 after a further 16 years with them. The reason being mainly because we had to move office again from Mount St. North Sydney to the Towers opposite Central Railway Station. I did not want to cross the Bridge again. It would seem that our department was the floating department in that during the time I had with them we started at Qantas House, then NAB House, Mount Street North Sydney, 88 William Street, NAB House, then Mount St. North Sydney. We had had about 6 moves of office in 9 1/2 yrs. It was a sad farewell as we had started a New Dept., New products and watched them grow, travelled a lot of miles and met some wonderful people both staff and customers.
I thank the C.B.C. for giving me the opportunity to do the jobs I had and secondly to NAB for the experience I gained working with them.
CBC has always been like a large happy family and it is something I will never forget.
As I had learnt the Paypartners Package when I left the Bank it wasn’t long before the woman that had taught me, from Microsoft, called and asked if I would like a part-time job doing payroll for them. I did that for several years and then was placed at a position for 3 days per week. I left that after 3 1/2 years and did part-time again for a few months. Then found a job locally 2 1/2 days a week which suited me. I retired from there when I turned 70.