Building around the ATM concept, Huntington in 1972 pioneered the 24/7, fully automated financial center, known as Handy-Bank. The Handy-Bank concept, first announced in 1971, gathered multiple devices and services — including an automatic Mosler Teller-Matic System 4000 machine operated by credit card, a currency and coin changer, a postage stamp dispenser, a night depository and security measures including a closed-circuit television system and a dedicated telephone line to Huntington’s security office — into a single, unattended “microbranch.”11 The Teller-Matic could handle 14 basic banking transactions, including withdrawals and deposits, and it could issue small loans — a true competitive advantage for Huntington. The first-of-its-kind facility was profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and United States Investor, among other publications.
Although the Handy-Bank required about 10 percent of the cost of a normal branch and zero personnel, Huntington President Edward Huwaldt said the concept would “not eliminate the people-to-people service at our bank. It will not affect any of our staff operations .… As a matter of fact, we envision the full-service branch operation as the central bank for an area and the Handy-Banks as being satellites to that central bank.”12
This model proved to be far ahead of its time, a precursor to the widespread, decentralized network of ATMs most major banks would soon employ.
Besides introducing these satellite banks, Huntington extended its reach throughout the early 1970s chiefly through holding company acquisitions. From 1967 to 1974, Huntington Bancshares acquired several local community banks throughout Ohio, including ones in Washington Court House, Chillicothe, Ashland, Bowling Green, Springfield, Toledo, Lima, Woodville, Kent, Wadsworth and Kenton.13
Other bank holding companies had sprung up throughout the Midwest during this period. In 1970, Cleveland-based Union Commerce Bank, born as Union Bank of Commerce on May 16, 1938, formed a parent holding company — the Union Commerce Corp. In 1974, Union Commerce Corp. had $1.6 billion in assets, making it one of Ohio’s five largest banks.14
Above Images: Debut of the Handy-Bank ATM at Huntington.
Left Image: This Union Commerce branch, with a four-window drive-in at Euclid Avenue and East 276th Street in Cleveland, opened in 1964.
Right Image: Headquarters of the Union Commerce Bank in Cleveland.