In the last four years, Barcelona has seen 40% of ATMs disappear, a phenomenon parallel to the closure of bank branches and which leaves some neighborhoods without these terminals. This is the case of the Trinitat Nova or the Teixonera, both peripheral and with low incomes, which in recent months have been left without service despite protests from the neighbors.
To deal with the phenomenon, which affects the elderly above all (with more mobility problems and less digital skills), the City Council is deploying ATMs in markets, metro stations and kiosks. In recent months, 65 have been installed and it is expected that by the end of this year there will be a total of 161. The network also wants to be extended to municipal facilities (such as civic centers, libraries, centers for the elderly), for which the service will be put out to tender. In no case are these facilities at any cost to the City Council, highlighted the Deputy Mayor for the Economy, Jaume Collboni, this Wednesday when presenting the deployment plan.
“We have more than 500 local facilities to facilitate access for residents to ATMs, kilometer zero banking”, highlighted the councilor from the Besos market, one of the four where these devices have been installed and where “an elderly person who needs to withdraw cash must walk 15 or 20 minutes.” Collboni explained that the ATMs are being installed and will be installed in metro stops in neighborhoods where most offices have been closed; and also in kiosks, whose licenses are granted by the City Council.
In the case of the markets, the four have been installed through an agreement with Banco de Santander “the only bank that has agreed to do so for free.” A few words from the councilor that come after the demands of a few months ago to the entities to install new ATMs. “Without saying names, some entities tried to charge us for the service,” Collboni lamented. The ATMs installed in metro stops or kiosks belong to the ATM operator, he has clarified. The act of announcing the new ATMs in markets, in addition to Collboni, four other socialist councilors have joined, who govern in coalition with the commons of Ada Colau: the deputy mayor of Agenda 2030, Laia Bonet; the councilor of the Sant Marti district, where the Besos market is located, David Escude; the Councilor for Finance, Commerce and Markets, Montse Ballarin; and the Councilor for Youth and the Elderly, Joan Ramon Riera.
“Accessibility to cash should be a citizen’s right because banks operate with State licenses. Measures have been taken in the rural world, but in the big cities we have the same problem and no one had thought of concrete actions to have more ATMs within reach of the people”, he summarized before boasting that Barcelona is the first Spanish city in take such a measure.
The clientele and the stallholders of the Besos market have applauded the novelty, but many have indicated that they are not Santander clients. The shopkeepers because they will be able to enter the money from the day’s box with greater security than if they have to move, points out the City Council, but many also say that they are clients of other entities. “If they offer me good conditions, I wouldn’t mind changing. Before there was a Banco Sabadell opposite, but they closed it and now I am going to enter Sant Adria. Here, Sabadell left an ATM but it’s worn out, you can’t trust it”, commented the owner of the salty fishing and cod stall Jose Angel Mestre. Older women, the majority among the buyers, also see the new ATM well, but they are not Santander clients either and they tend to move out of the neighborhood. “Here in Besos there were four or five entities and not one remains,” lamented Araceli Salvador, who travels to La Verneda to a La Caixa office. “At my pace I have more than 15 minutes walking, many times I take the bus”. Her friend Ana Canillas is president of her ladder and she also walks to a La Caixa branch, in this case La Mina, to do business. “We will have to ask how much it costs to change,” said the two women, who always use cash. “Or in the end, we will have to take a card,” they settled. to make arrangements. “We will have to ask how much it costs to change,” said the two women, who always use cash. “Or in the end, we will have to take a card,” they settled. to make arrangements. “We will have to ask how much it costs to change,” said the two women, who always use cash. “Or in the end, we will have to take a card,” they settled.