“No-Lone Zone” at State Bank Victoria

no-lone-zone The first mainframe I ever IML’d was the IBM 4341.  The 4341 was released in 1979.  Our 4341 was superseded by the 3090-600J.  IBM had released the 3090 family in 1985.

Superseded as the 4341 was, we still used it for one production job.

FarmBank PINs and TANs.

A PIN is something you already know about, as you use one when you use an Automatic Teller Machine.  A TAN on the other hand, you might not have heard of.  A TAN was a Transaction Authorisation Number.  Each FarmBank transaction required a TAN.  We issued a PIN; and TANs, when customers requested them.

Graziers were the target customers for FarmBank.  It allowed them to check their bank accounts from the comfort of their farm house.  FarmBank was gatewayed off from the main Telecom Australia Viatel system.  Viatel was a forerunner to the internet for most online users in Australia.

Now FarmBank PINs and TANs printing was considered highly sensitive, and only trusted staff were allowed to do it.

But mistakes happen.  Sometimes the PINs and TANs would be printed on blank paper stock, which we’d then have to shred.


Except on one afternoon shift.  The supervisor took the printout, and threw it straight into the waste bin.
Just as the Data Centre Manager strolled past, doing the MBWA thing.  The supervisor was hauled over the coals, and PIN/TAN printing became a two-person operation aka “No-Lone Zone”.

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