The Spanish banking sector was in the process of deleveraging when the pandemic crisis broke out, the collateral damage of which has intensified the closure of branches. This is how the latest report ‘The deposit entities in the Valencian Community’ of the Department of Finance and Economic Model of the Generalitat Valenciana, which was published this week corresponding to the third quarter of 2021, reports again.

The number of offices that have closed in the Valencian Community since the outbreak of the pandemic crisis -first quarter of 2020- is 298.

The province of Valencia is the most affected in absolute terms. The number of branches has been reduced in times of covid-19 by 141, 11.73%, to 1,061 from 1,202 in the first quarter of 2020.

For its part, Alicante leads the cut in percentage terms with 16.26%, which in absolute numbers is 134, going from 824 offices to 690 on the last day of September 2021.

The situation is not improving even now with CaixaBank announcing it will close a dozen establishments in the Valencian Community on 24 January. To that entity we must add the closure of offices from BBVA, Banco Sabadell, Unicaja Banco, Liberbank, Ibercaja … in a sector that is crying out for the European Central Bank (ECB) to start raising interest rates although it will have to wait, at least, until next year, according to the latest comments from Christine Lagarde.

Meanwhile, the report of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Model of the Generalitat Valenciana shows that both deposits and loans to the public and resident sector of banks that operate in the autonomy grew in the first nine months of last year. And in both cases above the national average.

Thus, deposits did so at an annual rate of 5.61% to total 125,481 million euro compared to 5.48% growth throughout the Spanish territory, amounting to 1.44 billion euro. The Valencian Community remained in fourth place in the ranking behind Madrid (387,715 million), Catalonia (207,857 million) and Andalusia (145,577 million).

As far as loans are concerned, the banks that operate in the Valencian Community granted 114,587 million euro in loans, which represents an annual increase of 3.24%. In all of Spain, the rebound was only 1.07% to stand at 1.25 billion euro. Identical position in the national ranking, fourth place, after Madrid (360,272 million), Catalonia (210,345) and Andalusia (153,058 million).