The latest report ‘Deposit institutions in the Valencian Community’ from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Model of the Generalitat Valenciana, reveals that two thirds of the commercial networks of banks, savings banks, and rural banks, have closed down across the region between the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, until June 30 of this year.

At the end of that financial year for 2008 there were 5,061 branches in the region, spread across the three provinces, in what was its all-time high. In the latest report, at the end of the first part of 2022, there were only 1,706 left, that is, 66.29% less or in absolute numbers 3,355.

In the Valencian Community, Castellón is the province that has lost the most branches in percentage (-67.45%) , which is equivalent to 458 fewer branches, going from 679 to 221. Valencia appears next with a 66.78% less network (-1,767), which has seen how the 2,646 it had in 2008 has remained -for now- at 879; while in Alicante the drop is 65.09% -1,130-, which goes from 1,736 14 to 606 on June 30, 2022.

This is however six percentage points more than in the national group, given that in said period of time the closure of bank branches has reached 60.53% of the network, that is, 27,637 after going from 45,662 -also a historical record- of the last day of 2008.

There is no doubt that the personal banking function suffered during the height of the Covid pandemic, and the appearance of new competitors – fintech and bigtech – are having an impact, but as anyone who has tried to visit a branch recently, assuming you can find one, will testify from the queues usually out the door, there is still a need for banks in the high street, although, sadly, the likelihood is that the trend of closing down branches will continue, despite the profits of the banking institutions.

As the report of the Department of Finance and Economic Model of the Generalitat Valenciana states, despite access to bank branches declining, both deposits and loans to the public sector and resident banks that operate in the autonomous region rose in the first six months of last year. And in both cases well above the national average.

Thus, deposits did so at an annual rate of 9.01% to total 129,6 billion euro compared to 4.37% growth in the entire Spanish territory, which amounted to 1.51 trillion euro. This autonomy remained in fourth place in the ranking behind Madrid (409,8 billion), Catalonia (216,5 billion) and Andalusia (155,7 billion).

As far as credits are concerned, the banks that operate in the Valencian Community granted 113,9 billion euro, which represents an annual increase of 0.86%. In all of Spain it was a fall of 0.04% to 1.26 trillion euro. Identical position in the national ranking, fourth place, after Madrid (364,1 billion), Catalonia (212) and Andalusia (156,6 billion).