Banks close over 1,000 branches in 5 years
Banks in Portugal have closed 1,077 branches up and down the country over the past five years – the majority in Lisbon, Porto, Braga and Aveiro.
According to a study released by the Bank of Portugal (BdP) on the network coverage of automatic banking services machines and bank branches for the years 2017 to 2022, there was a reduction in bank branches from 4,592 to 3,515.
The reduction in the branch network was particularly high in the districts of Lisbon, Porto, Braga and Aveiro that represented 60% of the total number of branches closed.
“The five municipalities with the most branches (Lisbon, Porto, Sintra, Cascais and Gaia) had as many branches as the 161 municipalities with he fewest agencies”, reads the BdP report.
The central bank expects that the trend to close branches nationwide will continue in the coming years, even though no official communiqué has been made by the banks with the BdP leaving a warning about the possible socio-economic impacts.
The central bank said it was inevitable that traditional channels, especially branches, would be replaced by alternative technology instruments (mobile and online banking) and that this could pose a challenge, particularly in terms of financial inclusion, and culminate in a suboptimal situation in terms of cash distribution.
The BdP study states that almost all of the population (99%) has a Multibanco ATM machine within five kilometres from their homes.