The bank for a changing world

Well of History : Minitel – the advent of home banking

  • 14.01.2016

The banking sector reflects social and technological changes. In the 1960s, information technology started to play a major role in the organisation of banks. With the development of the Minitel, telematics represented a new phase. Right at the start of the 1980s, BNP and Cetelem engaged in this process. The bank came into French homes.

From information technology to telematics

In the space of one century, the bank modified its organisation to improve efficiency. After the mechanisation of administrative tasks, information technology revolutionised operations: in 1960, IBM computers were adopted and computer tools became widespread. After the creation of the Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) in 1966, a banking information centre was opened at 49, avenue des Champs Elysées in 1970. 

The Minitel gamble

The Teletel was developed in the early 1980s. In 1982, the first Minitel terminals were given to the public. All telephone subscribers could adopt this innovation at their local France Telecom agency. The banking sector recognised this tool’s potential. Cetelem soon decided to try it out in different stores. First of all, the stores’ employees had to be trained, starting with keyboard operations. 

Creating remote banking

In 1984, BNP offered its professional customers and then its individual customers the interactive Teleservice B. This service allowed them to manage their cash flow in real time. The Minitel allowed BNP to secure customer loyalty and improve the quality of service at its branches which no longer had to deal with queues because customers could consult their bank from home. With 3616 BNPTEL, customers’ need for speed and efficiency was fulfilled. In 1994, BNP offered its individual customers the chance to subscribe to Panorama, a service available by Minitel or telephone. Customers adopted the Minitel on a large scale. The World Wide Web would soon take over. But remote banking had already been born.