A Moment in Bank History

Sometimes the Old Spare Parts in the Closet Aren't Trash...

By Matt Wasilefsky

I worked for Chase for over 35 years and have lots of great stories about working at the bank. It was a wonderful career and I had numerous opportunities that were brought about in part by my hard work.
I started my career in owner security handling in 1969. In those days there weren't any computers. We used an IBM  keypunch system.  Anyway, our business line was considering whether to sell or invest in the future to expand and grow.  One of the deciding factors was whether or not to  replace our old keypunch system, which was so obsolete that some spare parts were no longer available in the United States.  Chase went overseas to see if they could find any of these spare parts and fortunately they were able to.
This was a key milestone in the decision to fix this line of business. The spare parts gave us the opportunity to patch the old system as needed while we were building a new computer system.  The spare components for the old system were gathered up and stored in a closet at Chase to be used as needed.
The work began in earnest on the new computer system at that time.  Some six months into the computer development, someone saw all the spare parts in a closet and assumed it was junk and tossed it all out in the trash. This resulted in Chase's having to immediately put in the untested and incomplete computer system earlier than we were ready for. If I recall correctly. the new system was slated to take one year to complete and was called TOOS.
As you can imagine, chaos ensued at that point with many transactions rejecting. For audit trail processing, every rejected transaction required two new transactions–one to reverse the bad transaction and one to repair it– so in essence double the work. 
I signed up for as many extra hours as I could. I would come into work and have a stack of errors to fix on my desk. The next day there would be even more rejects to correct as some of the correcting entries would also fail.  
The end result was that we eventually got the new system up and running and Chase developed a best-in-class system which allowed this business line significant growth. On the personal side, I was able to save enough money to buy my first house for $35,000!



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