The banks they are closing more and more branches and withdrawing cash can become a business. The reason? In addition to the fight against cash, also the high commission costs.
Factual stadiums that in the last year have disappeared in Italy well 1,831 bank branches and, in these first six months, others have also been added. Small municipalities, especially in the South, are affected the most. It has been twenty-five years – since 1996 when there were 24,421 branches – that the numbers weren’t so low and worrying. Analyzing them further, it emerges above all that in the national territory there will be a bank for every 2,522 inhabitants but, above all, as out of 7,904 Italian municipalities, 2,802 find themselves without a credit office and – consequently – even a simple ATM.
At the same time, digital payments have increased considerably. Over the next four years, according to a report of Statista, digital payments will continue to increase. This fact contributes to making ATMs obsolete, as they need less and less to pay and banks are closing them all the time, to save on operating costs. Where the items are: maintenance, technological investments and systems security. For some time now, the Fabi Umbria union has warned against the dangers of the so-called “debancarizzazione” of the territory which, between costs to be cut and mergers between institutions, is emptying many small centers of branches and often ATMs. “Five years ago, in Umbria, there were 730 ATMs, or about 20% more than today. And the branches have decreased even more », said with bitterness the regional secretary of Fabi, Enrico Simonetti. Looking at the Bankitalia numbers, revised by the Uilca union, the regional trend is confirmed at national level: from 2016 to 2020, the ATMs connected to bank branches (one or more machines) certainly decreased, but less than the branches decreased. , fell 19.1% from 29,039 to 23,480. Over the same period, the number of ATMs in supermarkets, shopping malls and other public places grew by 18.8%, from 5,269 to 6,258 machines. It being understood that overall the ATM have been reduced, both phenomena are explained by the need to make up for the sharp reduction of physical counters with automatic teller machines that has characterized the last few years. “Often instead of a closed branch, there remains an intelligent multifunctional ATM, which for maintenance and collection of money can be more expensive than an internal machine. Not infrequently, it happens that these ATMs break ».
If the payment system is shifting towards less cash use, the latest study of the ECB points out that, in 2019, cash was used for 73% of retail transactions in the euro area. And in Italy the number is 82%. For this reason, in Italy it remains essential to facilitate access to withdrawal while trying to digitize the country. According to an analysis by Kpmg, at a regional level, eleven regions have above average percentages: first the Valle d’Aosta, which with a negative percentage of -6.3% saw its branches reduce from 79 to 74. Immediately behind Liguria (-5.8%), where branches went from 677 to 638. Lower step of the podium for Abruzzo (-5.7%), where branches went from 526 to 496. Over the average also Emilia-Romagna (-5.5%), Basilicata (-5.4%), Sicily (-4.4%), Friuli Venezia-Giulia (-4.0%), Piedmont (-3.9 %), Umbria (-3.7%), Sardinia (-3.7%), and Lazio (-3.5%). Among the least affected by this cut in branches, however, the Italian region with the best data is Puglia (-2%), where branches have decreased by only 22 units, from 1,077 compared to 1,055 in the previous year. -Covid. Followed by Trentino Alto-Adige (-2.3%), from 736 to 719 branches, and Lombardy (-2.4%) which, despite the 155 branches closed in 2020 alone, is confirmed as the Italian region with the most banking presence. , backed by its 4,699 branches.
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