CaixaBank, a leading European digital banking platform, has increased its presence and coverage in rural areas in Spain, where it previously had no access. The bank has added 484 new towns to its financial services network in 2022 and 2023, through the use of mobile branches and ATMs. The bank has also covered 90 out of the 243 towns that were identified as having no face-to-face banking services, as part of a public-private collaboration to enhance financial inclusion in the country.
CaixaBank has a strong commitment to rural development and social responsibility, and aims to provide access to basic financial services to all segments of the population, especially those who are at risk of financial exclusion. The bank has the largest network of branches and ATMs in Spain, with nearly 4,000 branches and more than 9,000 ATMs, offering service in more than 2,230 municipalities. The bank is also the only financial institution in 483 municipalities, and has pledged not to abandon this service.
The bank’s mobile branches are vehicles equipped with the necessary technology and security to offer banking services to the customers in rural areas, such as cash withdrawals and deposits, transfers, payments, and consultations. The bank has 32 mobile branches that operate in 783 rural towns, with a total population of more than 300,000 inhabitants. The bank has increased its mobile branches service by 23% since the beginning of 2023, when it reached 636 towns.
The bank’s ATMs are also a key tool to provide financial services to the rural areas, as they allow the customers to perform various operations, such as cash withdrawals and deposits, transfers, payments, consultations, and even charitable donations. The bank has installed ATMs in 35 towns that had no face-to-face banking services, and has plans to install more ATMs in other towns in the near future.
A contribution to financial inclusion
CaixaBank’s expansion of its financial services network to rural areas is a contribution to the financial inclusion efforts in Spain, which involve the collaboration of the banking associations, the government, and the regulators. In October 2022, the banking associations AEB, CECA and UNACC agreed on a roadmap to reinforce financial inclusion in rural areas, with the aim of ensuring face-to-face access to banking services in all Spanish towns and villages, with priority given to those with no face-to-face access.
According to the “Report on Financial Inclusion in Spain”, which was published in December 2022, there were 243 municipalities with more than 500 inhabitants and no access to face-to-face banking services. Thanks to the actions carried out by all entities within the public-private collaboration, a roll-out of financial services and ongoing tendering processes has been achieved, reaching more than 90% of the 243 municipalities identified.
CaixaBank has covered almost 40% of the total number of towns and villages identified in the report, and has gone beyond this commitment by extending its financial services to another 394 municipalities, reaching a total of 484 new municipalities in rural areas by 2023.
A recognition of excellence
CaixaBank’s efforts and achievements in expanding its financial services network to rural areas have been recognized and praised by various national and international organizations and institutions. The bank has received several awards and distinctions for its excellence in digital banking, customer service, social responsibility, and innovation.
Some of the awards and distinctions that the bank has received in 2022 and 2023 are:
- The Best Bank in Spain 2023 award, by the magazine Euromoney, for the seventh consecutive year.
- The Best Bank Transformation in Western Europe 2023 award, by the magazine The Banker, for its successful merger with Bankia and its digital transformation strategy.
- The Best Digital Bank in Spain 2022 award, by the magazine Global Finance, for the fifth consecutive year.
- The Best Bank for Corporate Responsibility in Western Europe 2022 award, by the magazine Euromoney, for its social and environmental initiatives and projects.
- The Best Innovation in Financial Inclusion 2022 award, by the magazine The Banker, for its mobile branches service in rural areas.