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Spain’s new approach to banking: once-a-month and on a bus

Bankia bank bus
Reuters/Sergio Perez
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Spanish BanksPublished This article is more than 2 years old.

Bankia, Spain’s fourth-largest bank, lost €19.2 billion ($25.5 billion) last year and received a bailout carrying the condition that it lay off workers and shut down branches.

Having closed outlets earlier this year, Bankia is now dispatching buses equipped with tellers to provide services to customers with no local means of withdrawing or depositing money. The initial plan was to have these buses show up several times a month (link in Spanish), though at least in the towns of Maderuelo, Castile, and León, the bus comes only once a month.

Bankia had originally planned to close 1,100 offices and lay off 4,500 workers over three years. But the Spanish lender accelerated the process in hopes of completing it within a year. Over the last four years, bank closings have become common in Europe: 20,000 branches have been closed. Spain has more branches per person than any other country in Europe, but its number of branches fell 17% in 2012.

Below are pictures of Spain’s bank-on-wheels.

For residents in the village of Maderuelo, this is what a trip to the bank looks like. Reuters/Sergio Perez.
Banking in the village of Corral de Ayllon, which has about 60 residents.  Reuters/Sergio Perez.
Inside it looks much like any other small branch except for elastic bands that keep the furniture in place when it’s on the move. Reuters/Sergio Perez.
Without the bank-on-wheels, customers in remote areas such as Maderuelo would have to travel up to 150km (95 miles) to complete their bank transactions. Reuters/Sergio Perez.

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