MADRID – Any place in Spain with more than 500 inhabitants where there is no bank branch should have an ATM. Banks see to it that there is one from a ‘white brand’. Unless a financial access point is established by traditional means before that time.
This was announced by the first vice president and minister of economic affairs, Nadia Calviño on Friday. In the government’s rush to achieve the financial inclusion of residents in empty Spain, the ministry, together with the three financial industry associations AEB, CECA and Unacc, has presented a roadmap for the next six months. This can be extended for another six months and consists of guaranteeing a financial access point for any place with more than 500 inhabitants. Such an access point can be a bank branch, an ATM, a mobile bank branch or a financial agent.
For places with fewer than 500 inhabitants, a solution is offered such as a cash bank or a cash-in-shop where people can withdraw cash.
More than half of municipalities no longer have a bank branch
After the closure of hundreds of branches in Spain during the 2008 financial crisis, 54.5% of the 8,131 municipalities in Spain no longer have a bank. This is especially true for very small villages. However, more than 1.5 million people still live here, 3.3% of the total population. Of these places, 243 have more than 500 inhabitants and no longer have a bank. They represent 7.5% of the total.
Spain has the most bank branches in the EU except for two countries
However, Spain still appears to have the third densest network of bank branches in the European Union. Only in Bulgaria and France is the network denser. The average number of inhabitants per branch in the European Union is 3,223 and in Spain, it is 2,463. Looking at the number of people per ATM, in Spain (based on 2020 data) 957, which is 27% less than the EU-27 average (1,213). In this regard, Spain is the fourth most dense country after Austria, Portugal and Croatia, according to data from IVIE.
Minister Calviño also pointed to the fact that banks are trying to cooperate with the network of Spanish post offices so that people in those branches of ‘Correos’ can do financial transactions. They also invite municipalities to make other spaces available for this.
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