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Rural bank crisis: 4,000 villages have no branch and elderly residents ‘don’t understand cashpoints’
26 February 2019 @ 13:55

AS MANY as 4,000 villages in Spain have no local bank branch, and just 20% of these are served by a monthly or fortnightly ‘mobile bank’ open for three hours at a time.

And some of these villages are within striking distance of major cities – as long as inhabitants have access to a car.

The village of Canencia in the Greater Madrid region is home to fewer than 500 people, but its ageing population says it feels lost without a local branch where they can withdraw cash, pay bills and ask for advice.

Their nearest bank is 20 kilometres away, in the larger village of Buitrago de Lozoya.

Most of these villages has at least one cashpoint, but some of the very elderly are ‘too scared’ to use them, ‘in case they swallow their cards’, or ‘don’t understand them’, especially if they are from a generation which left school long before their teens and can barely read or write.

Also, in Canencia and some other villages, very few local shops, bars or cafés accept card payments – even though, by law, any single transaction of €30 or more must include this option.

Younger villagers say that, although most believe in the age of internet banking, direct debits, contactless and email or phone contact, high-street banks are unnecessary, an entire generation still pays its bills in cash over the counter at the bank and does not trust any other method.



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