The Boston area used to have a bank for real go-getters

BayBank sign partially emerges in Somerville's Union Square

The Tokist spotted a blast from the past in Union Square: The partial re-emergence of a BayBank sign over an ATM.

Proof its customers were real go-getters:

Of course, once you took out some money, you could head to Lechmere:



Free tagging: 



Baybanks porter Square

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I worked as a teller for a while in Porter Square in the 1980's. It was right when ATM cards had just started coming out. Sill remenber the "I got by BayBanks Card" tune!

There was also a Popeye's in Porter Square then. I miss it!

It was an exciting time when

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It was an exciting time when ATMs were invented, and you could get cash 24/7 at any bank in the city. Until they invented ATM fees, which spread really quickly.

For whatever reason, they don't have ATM fees in much of Europe. It's great. If you need 10 euros, you get 10 euros, without worrying about how much you might need later so you can do a bigger withdrawal on just one fee.

Can't tell the players without a program

I moved to Boston just in time to get a new ATM card every year or so when BayBank became BankBoston became Fleet became Bank of America. I wonder how this ATM managed to have only the beginning and end signs?


I guess

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Union square would make that “Baybank/Middlesex”

On the North Shore...

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there was BayBank and Trust (main office was in Beverly). It eventually merged with BayBank/Middlesex to form BayBank Trust Company, then it was eventually renamed back to BayBank/Middlesex, before they all merged with BayBank/Boston to form BayBank.

Two years later, it merged with Bank of Boston.

I miss both. :(

Oh man I forgot about the tv

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Oh man I forgot about the tv ads. I had a card as a TU freshman Fall '76 that I used at the Medford Hillside location (when there was any cash in the account). Had to support the local small businesses like Hillside liquors and Espresso pizza.

BayBank was everywhere for a reason

Everything in this area ran on cash - credit cards were only at certain retailers and checks? Fuggitaboutit. No checks!

Then a BayBank exec got his car towed to the outer reaches of Boston ... and needed cash to bail it out. He made a bunch of phone calls, started walking and then realized that the nearest ATM was over two miles away. Thus began his awakening to banking equity and opportunity, too. BayBank started filling in those spaces in the city regardless of the income of the local residents and got a lot of business for their trouble.


I learned the hard way those

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I learned the hard way those early 90's standalone/ Store 24/ etc. BayBank ATM's were a ripoff- particularly if you had the misfortune of having one of them eat your card

Wait a sec

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Being a lifelong resident of “the outer reaches of Boston,” I can assure you that BayBank didn’t get a lot of business here because they had no physical presence here.

It was more of an ever present suburban thing.

Many, many, many moons ago...

I was tasked with, and almost succeeded in, single-handedly ghost writing the second best federal bank charter tracking database in the world.

BayBank was my herpes... in regards to making it all database neat. Databases are not so asterisk friendly.

This barely follows the charter(s):

Nonetheless, it would soon be subsumed by one of the many U.S. bank mergers that proliferated in the 1990s.

Subsumed? I spent two years closing my eyes VERY tightly, murmuring "follow the charter, follow the charter".

The asterisks eventually kicked my ass.

U.S. Bank Locations

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Has a history (?) of mergers and acquisitions re what was BayBank/Boston.

Middlesex County had three BayBanks over the years:

BayBank/Harvard Trust
BayBank/Newton-Waltham Trust
BayBank/Winchester Trust

Essex County had two:

BayBank and Trust
BayBank/Merrimack Valley (main office: Andover)

I recall at one time Bay Bank

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I recall at one time Bay Bank was a county based bank, Norfolk I think. Had a few things with them, but it revolved around Norfolk County, couldn't do Suffolk at that time.

MA banks used to be limited to not crossing county lines

so there were Boston-based banks like First National Bank of Boston and Shawmut Bank, and Cambridge-based banks like Harvard Trust Company and Cambridge Trust, and none of them could cross the river and establish branches in the other county.

BayBank found a way around this by acquiring many small separate banks throughout the region and giving them a common brand name. Eventually the state removed these restrictions.

Shout out to the late Doug Houston...

...of Boston's Houston Advertising, the man behind the classic commercial campaigns for both BayBank and Lechmere. I worked for him as a young copywriter back in the glory days, and when it came to good old-fashioned retail consumer advertising, nobody did it better.

Remember "ATM's won't last"

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I recall when skeptics believed ATM's wouldn't last. I may have been one of them. The initial, small, unstaffed, stand alone Bay Bank ATM buildings were a novelty. With one or two ATM's inside, they were well landscaped, bright and clean but hardly anyone over 30 was using them at first. As someone mentioned, there was a fear of the machine eating your card and possibly erasing your life savings. In the days when Charlestown gangs specialized in armored truck robberies, Brinks or Wells Fargo would stock the ATM's with shotgun wielding guards in marked armored trucks. Experienced thieves also tried to figure out how to break into the money part of the machines overnight. I recall a few times when a legit early morning customer entered the ATM building only to smell dynamite residue.

The World War II and Korean War generations were still vibrant in the 1980's and had a "damn computers" attitude, preferring a live human doing their transactions M-F 8 am to 4 pm and if you were lucky Saturday's 9-noon. The older, locally owned banks, with aging board members were slow to get in on the act and if they added an ATM it was in the bank lobby or vestibule. Bay Bank led the way!

There were no ATM's and few

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There were no ATM's and few had credit cards or checking accounts during the Blizzard of 78 and the world kept spinning.

Sorry, but ...

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There were ATMs in 1978. Not as many as today, perhaps, but I had a BayBank card (got it at the branch on Main Street in Waltham). I think the Harvard Square BayBank had a stunning two ATMs.