April 16, 2021

The Bank of Spain does not believe that closing branches necessarily implies financial exclusion

La situación más crítica se produce en los municipios que han perdido la única oficina bancaria, unos 4.109 oficinas


The Bank of Spain has indicated on Tuesday that the closing of offices and the reduction of ATMs that the banking sector has experienced in recent yearss does not necessarily imply that the affected population is in a situation of financial exclusion. A position that you have sustained in an article published in the Banking Client Portal, in which he has reviewed the restructuring figures of the banking business model.

The bank offices they have been reduced by 39% between 2008 and 2017, to 27,706 branches, at 1981 levels. These office closings have been accompanied by the disappearance of many ATMs, although, and partially offsetting this decrease, they have also been installed new ATMs at points of great influx of people, such as shopping centers, airports or train stations. The net result is that in that period the number of ATMs in Spain has decreased by 17.6%, to 50,839 in 2017.

The most critical situation occurs in the municipalities that have lost the only bank office they had: this is the case of 4,109 Spanish municipalities, according to data from 2017, which means that 1.25 million inhabitants do not have this service in your municipality of residence.

Financial exclusion?

However, the Bank of Spain has ensured that this reality does not necessarily imply that the affected population is in a situation of financial exclusion for four reasons.

First, because the affected municipalities are, in many cases, close to others with a branch bank or ATM. For example, the municipality without a banking office with the largest population (6,872 inhabitants) has a banking office three kilometers away. In addition, in this article the Bank of Spain has indicated that, if one considers the population density, The vast majority of the Spanish population is concentrated in municipalities where there are more than five banking offices.

The Bank of Spain has also indicated that the bank has developed alternative channels to cover populations that have lost their branches, such as mobile offices ("ofibuses") or financial agents that, without a permanent establishment, serve customers periodically at points where banking offices no longer exist.

Finally, he recalled that other non-bank agents are starting to offer the cash withdrawal service through multi-purpose ATMs or on the occasion of a cash-back purchase. Equally, Post and a banking entity reached an agreement to make available to the bank's customers its network of 2,400 post offices for income, withdrawal of money or request the sending of cash at home.


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