The number of branch offices of banks that are now operating in the Alicante Province has dropped to 739, the lowest figure since June 1978 when the province had 800,000 fewer inhabitants and a much lower volume of economic activity.

In that time more than 5,400 jobs have been lost. In the last 12 months alone, banks have closed 89 branches in the province of Alicante, that is, one every four days, according to the latest official data from the Bank of Spain, resulting on over 400 job losses.

It is a figure that will soon be reduced again, with the EREs of BBVA and CaixaBank and with the continued network reductions that the rest of the banks also foresee. No one dares to predict when they will end.

As the recession began to kick in, 13,398 bank workers were recorded by Social Security, a figure that currently stands at 7,974.

The feeling of constantly living on a tightrope has taken its toll on bank staff, who in recent years have undergone a radical change in the tasks they perform. If before, a large proportion of the staff focused on servicing members of the public, cashiers have now become sales people as the commercial tasks are now the most important.

“What we hope is that the situation stabilises at some point and that the remaining workers are able to continue working in good economic conditions,” says the head of the financial sector at UGT, Laura García, although she said that she regrets the labour conditions in the sector continue to worsen as cuts will carry on for some little time yet.