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Already in 2020, 80% of the towns of Ávila, Palencia, Salamanca, Guadalajara, Segovia and Soria did not have a bank branch. The health crisis has caused mobility restrictions that have accelerated the digitization process in the banking sector. The residents of Escúzar in Granada must move to Alhendín, the closest town with a bank branch 17.6 kilometers away. Or, the residents of El Alto Empordá have to travel 6.8 kilometers to Figueres. According to data from the Valencian Institute of Economic Research (IVIE) for the Ramón Areces Foundation, branches have been reduced by 51%. In other words, of the 8,131 Spanish municipalities, 4,287 do not have a bank branch, which implies that 1.39 million citizens must travel to another municipality.
A guaranteed service
For digital natives it is not a big problem since most are used to card payments or online banking operations. But older people, who have traditionally paid with cash, this is assuming that there is a growing digital divide. To alleviate this situation, Correos and Banco Santander have signed an agreement so that customers of the financial institution can withdraw cash at the 4,652 Correos citizen service offices (2,370 offices and 2,282 rural service points). Thanks to Correos Cash, Banco Santander customers will be able to make deposits and withdraw cash at the offices, in addition, the postmen of the logistics company will be able to deliver money to any address in Spain.
In 75% of the municipalities with less than 1,000 inhabitants, there is a post office. This allows Banco Santander to reach rural Spain, which implies 66% of the population that until now had no cash service in their municipality. This translates into 1,500 municipalities. Andalusia, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Castilla y León will be the most benefited communities. In this way, Correos is an asset that guarantees access to public service and contributes to territorial cohesion and the economic development of people and companies.
With this agreement, all people will have access to basic cash entry and withdrawal services without having to move from their location. They will only need a Santander bank card and ID. The service is free for bank customers at Post Offices located in municipalities where the entity does not have an office, with a maximum of two operations per month.
Commitment to rural areas
Correos has a clear commitment to face the demographic challenge in order to close the gap that exists between urban and rural areas, which in many cases do not have basic services and infrastructures. In this way, Correos Cash joins the solutions proposed by the logistics company so as not to leave anyone behind.
To date, Correos has digitized 2,295 points of service to the public in rural areas, in addition to postal or parcel services, offering Public Administrations to citizens with access to the records of the entities attached to the Virtual Registry Office ( ORVE), payment of taxes, collection of receipts, purchase of DGT badges and new products and services; It has also installed 109 ATMs in offices throughout Spain; and rural postmen and portfolios offer many of the services that are provided at home offices.
These projects are part of the 23 that Correos has presented to the ministries for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge; Industry, Commerce and Tourism; and Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, with the aim of opting for the distribution of the European Funds.