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Office equipment and banking operations over the years

The Bank of Taiwan Employee Training Institute on the south slope of Yangmingshan Mountain is housed in a building that originally served as one of the dormitories used by the US Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) during the years when the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty was in force (1954–1979). In 1995, Bank of Taiwan Chairman Y. D. Sheu built the Bank of Taiwan Employee Training Institute in order to improve employee training and service quality.

To encourage newly hired employees to become familiar with the fine traditions of the Bank of Taiwan, the Employee Training Institute displays items that have been used by employees in the past. Some of the objects on display date back to more than a century ago.

In 1938, the Bank of Taiwan Kabushiki-gaisha began purchasing gold items, and the bank acquired special office equipment so employees could handle related tasks more conveniently. The public reacted to this new line of business with great enthusiasm and often formed long lines outside the Bank of Taiwan headquarters to conduct transactions. In 1947 the reorganized Bank of Taiwan, acting upon an order from the government, began buying gold, and in 1949 the Bank of Taiwan launched a gold savings business. This cabinet remained in use throughout all those years.

Routine banking business involves a lot of numerical calculations, and changes in the devices used to carry out those calculations have reflected how banking has grown increasingly computerized and modern with the passage of time. Placed on display at the Bank of Taiwan Employee Training Institute are Chinese-style abacuses, Japanese-style abacuses, a hand-cranked keypunch calculator, and a hand-cranked key-driven calculator. Back in the days before computers and calculators, bank employees used devices of this sort to handle everyday calculations.

The Chinese-style abacus with a 2:5 layout (two beads per rod in the upper deck and five per rod in the bottom deck) was invented in the 14th century, and following its introduction to Japan it morphed into a 1:4 layout. Calculations are made by flicking the bottom beads with the thumb and the upper beads with the index figure. In the 19th century, inventors attempted to devise ways to manipulate the beads using gears or other mechanical mechanisms, and these efforts eventually led to the appearance of hand-cranked keypunch or key-driven calculators.

In 1919, Omoto Torajiro began working on a mechanical calculator and after more than four years succeeded in developing Japan's first manual calculator. Playing on the Chinese character for “tora” in the inventor’s name, Mr. Omoto named his product the “Tora Brand Calculator,” but imported goods carried tremendous cachet in Japan, so sales of this product with its Japanese name were weak. This prompted Omoto to rebrand his product the “Tiger” calculator (reflecting the fact that the character for “tora” represents the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese zodiac), and sales soared. Until electronic computers became ubiquitous, mechanical calculators were widely used at financial and academic institutions, where large numbers of mathematical calculations must be carried out. A “Tiger” brand calculator is currently on display at the Bank of Taiwan Employee Training Institute.

A vault is the ultimate symbol of how a bank keeps valuables in safe custody, and the Bank of Taiwan Employee Training Institute has in its collection a vault that was once used by the Chiayi Branch of the Bank of Taiwan Kabushiki-gaisha. The Chiayi Branch was established in 1910 and this vault, acquired nearly a century ago, is still in working order. In addition, the safety deposit boxes used by the bank have multiple dividers that make it easy to keep different kinds of bills and currency separate.

In the early years of Taiwan's Liberty Lottery, the Bank of Taiwan was hired by the Taiwan Provincial Government to issue the lottery tickets, which it printed using a hand-cranked lithographic press. This very simple printing press featured such parts as a lock frame, a pallet, a lever, and a crank handle. The lottery tickets of those years looked quite similar to New Taiwan Dollar banknotes.

Over the course of time, economic development and technological progress have brought major changes to the way financial business operations are conducted. In 1977, the Bank of Taiwan set up its first automated teller machine (ATM). The ATMs of that time relied on JIS-compliant CDs which served as authorization certificates. In addition, the Bank of Taiwan in years past installed coin exchange machines in its business lobbies and at airports and train stations. At the same time, the various kinds of ATMs, banknote counters, counterfeit detectors, and electronic calculators have undergone constant progress, causing routine banking operations to gradually evolve into what we're accustomed to seeing today. Also on display at the Bank of Taiwan Employee Training Institute are passbooks from years past, such as passbooks for prize-giving club savings deposits, type B demand deposits, and foreign exchange deposits. This is another way in which the Ministry of Finance’s policy of encouraging the public to save actively has proven to be effective.

Early typewriters, postal scales, rotary dial phones, microfiche readers, and many other early types of office equipment have gone out of use, but one can still imagine how bank offices must have appeared in years past.

Also on display at the Employee Training Institute are old copies of employee appointment and dismissal letters. Such orders used to be signed by the ROC President and Premier, which gives an idea of the power and importance of the Bank of Taiwan:

Letter of Appointment

Mr. LIU Tie-shu is hereby appointed as Chief of the Accounting Section at the Hsinchu Branch of the Bank of Taiwan.

President: Chiang Kai-shek
Premier: Chen Cheng
September 17, 1960