MADRID, 23 Oct. (EUROPA PRESS) -
Spanish banks continued to reduce their branch network in the second quarter of this year, reaching below 17,600, according to data provided by the Bank of Spain.
At the end of June, there were 17,597 branches in Spain, 55 less than in March and 516 less than in the same month of 2022. In addition, the figure for last June marks the lowest level since December 1975, when the network was It stood at 17,514 offices.
However, the pace of closures recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed, when various banking entities carried out restructuring to gain efficiency and opt, instead, for the digitalization of part of their services.
As an example, at the end of 2019 there were 24,004 branches, a figure that contrasts with the 17,735 branches in December 2022. However, the worst year was 2021: in just one year 3,288 had been closed, going from 22,392 in December 2020 to 19,104 in December 2021.
These closures, however, have led to complaints from various groups, such as older people who in February 2022 joined Carlos San Juan's request to stop the closure of offices and the reduction of in-person services.
From these complaints arose the protocol for caring for the elderly and people with disabilities and for rural areas, sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, and signed by the banking employers' associations where they committed to maintaining in-person and personalized attention for these groups.
Between the months of June 2023 and 2022, the autonomous communities that saw their office network cut the most in relative terms were Cantabria (-4.9%), Castilla-La Mancha (-4.7%), Madrid (- 4.4%), Balearic Islands (-4.4%), Extremadura (-3.6%), Valencian Community (-3.6%), Andalusia (-2.8%), Catalonia (-2.7% ), Asturias (-2.5%), La Rioja (-2.3%) and the Canary Islands (-2%).
Behind them were the Basque Country (-1.9%), Murcia (-1.5%), Castilla y León (-1.3%), Navarra (-1.2%), Galicia (-1.1% ) and Aragon (-0.7%).
If the comparison is made with June 2020, more than half of the autonomous communities have seen their number of branches reduced by more than 20%. Only Navarra, with a cut of 12%, Aragón (-13.5%), Extremadura (-17.4%), the Basque Country (-18.2%) and Castilla-La Mancha (-19.7%) are located below.
On the other hand, those that recorded the greatest reduction are the Balearic Islands (-33.12%), Madrid (-32.9%), Cantabria (-30.4%) and Catalonia (-30.2%). They are followed by Murcia (-28.2%), Castilla y León (-27.3%), Valencian Community (-27.2%), Canary Islands (-25.9%), La Rioja (-25.3%) , Asturias (-23.1%), Galicia (-22.6%) and Andalusia (-21.1%).