Today’s post is from Coley Clark, BancTec’s chairman of the board and chief executive officer.
This year marks BancTec’s 40th anniversary, and I would like to take a minute to recall how our company’s beginnings can be traced to torn checks.
It was 1972, the year President Nixon started the space shuttle program and Elton John topped the charts with “Rocket Man.” HBO launched its first subscription cable service as the BBC introduced the legendary quiz show Mastermind, known for its challenging questions and intimidating set.
Advancements in technology were taking hold, and automation was mastering any number of business tasks, among them check processing. But checks mutilated by machines couldn’t be quickly processed, and in that problem Merle Volding saw an opportunity. For less than $10,000, he purchased a stake in a Dallas company that had been unable to capitalize on its patent for repairing a damaged check by attaching a strip of paper to it using heat-sensitive adhesives.
Soon that company was BancTec, whose name highlights its technological expertise in the banking industry. And just a year after Volding founded BancTec, its first CheckMender system was installed in the Republic Bank of Dallas. The product proved successful, in part because it used a heat-sensitive adhesive that dried in milliseconds.
By 1975, BancTec was shipping and installing systems for banks and creating a new product using optical character recognition to automatically read and re-encode rejected checks that had been repaired. BancTec went on to take more than 20 percent of the market for mutilated checks, selling equipment to half of the country’s top 50 banks and a third of the 300 largest banks.
BancTec’s beginnings provided the company with experience in managing payment and document processing, strengths it has leveraged to become a leading provider of financial transaction automation and document management services. As I’ve said before, 40 years in business is worth celebrating, but it’s our 40 years of experience that matters.
To help mark our anniversary, please share with us your favorite memories and past experiences with BancTec. Comment and be sure and tell us: Where were you in ’72?