BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. – John Diebold, a technology pioneer and one of the earliest proponents of electronic banking technology that would eventually lead to the development of ATMs, debit and credit card networks and shared branching, has died of esophageal cancer at age 79. Diebold, who despite his name and background had no part in the ATM manufacturing firm which carries his name, founded the Diebold Group, a firm which invented an electronic network in 1961 to link account records at the Bowery Savings Bank in New York. Rather than being updated after hours, the electronic records immediately reflected both deposits and withdrawals and were available to any teller. Customers could then bank at any branch and at any window, one of the first times, if not the first time, such a thing had been done, according to various obituaries. “We agree that the coincidence is fairly bizarre,” said Carrie Kandes, spokesman for Diebold. “But we have searched our records and as far as we can tell there was no connection between Charles Diebold and John Diebold.” Charles Diebold, in 1859, founded the firm which would eventually come to manufacture ATMs. John Diebold was born in 1926 and did the work which eventually led to electronic banking in the 1950s. In 1968, 10 years before interstate ATM networks, Diebold advised several Chase Manhattan Bank executives of the costs and benefits of a national system for electronic funds transfer and he advised other industries on ways they could use electronic technology to improve their efficiency and offer customers more and better products and service. Although he eventually left the business world, Diebold stayed active for many years in promoting the use of technology to attack social and economic problems until his death, obituaries said. [email protected]

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