Tuesday, July 5

The bank employers justify the closing of branches: “There are more people without primary care than without a bank”

In a decade, more than one out of every two bank branches in Spain have disappeared, which has accelerated a process of exclusion in rural and less populated areas, leaving thousands of towns without any branch. Banks have increased their office closures this year. The president of the Spanish Banking Association (AEB, which includes Santander, BBVA, Sabadell or Bankinter) has justified this process within the digital transformation that the sector is experiencing and has wanted to contextualize it: “There are more people without primary care than people who do not has a bank “.

Roldán has made these declarations in the summer courses of the UIMP that are celebrated this week in Santander. It will be the last time that he attends as a representative of the employer’s association, since he will leave office next year. The one who was a director of the Bank of Spain before his move to the private sector has defended that “for banking services there are solutions.” In this sense, it has highlighted alternatives such as using supermarkets and pharmacies as “cash providers”. Also even the municipalities. “In all the towns there is one”, has defended. In this sense, he recalled measures such as the Correos agreements such as Santander for the public company to mediate some operations of the bank chaired by Ana Botín in rural areas.

Roldán has justified the situation that has led banks to announce more than 15,000 layoffs this year and the closure of hundreds of branches. “We have to understand the effects of the digital revolution, there has been a qualitative leap in customers who use these channels,” he emphasized during his presentation at the Cantabrian university. In addition, he has indicated that this seeks to “respond to a new competition”, by the new actors who provide financial services.

On this point, Roldán focused his presentation at the UIMP, known as shadow banking. This concept encompasses all service providers that are not banks and, therefore, have other rules and supervisory requirements. The employer’s leader has been very critical of the growth that this sector is having. “The shift to the non-banking sector increases the risks of financial instability that are difficult to assess,” he said.

The head of the employer’s association considers that “for the same activity and same risks, there must be the same regulation and supervision.” Roldán has argued that this is not happening, especially in the case of large technology companies that have started offering financial services. “We are obliged to open information about our clients, but they do not open their data to us,” Roldán lamented. Specifically, it has highlighted the increase in new non-bank players in services such as consumer loans or means of payment.

Regarding mergers in the sector, Roldán has defended that “they have been a good way to respond to the challenges and new competition” in banking. However, he considers that the possibilities of new operations in Spain “are less and less”. “We should already think on a European scale, in Spain there is less room for maneuver,” he said.