High street banks and ATMs disappearing in Portugal

in News · 22-11-2019 01:00:00 · 2 Comments

Over 2,000 cash dispensers (ATMs) and a further 2,000 banks have disappeared from the high street in Portugal over the past decade.

According to data from the Banco de Portugal (BdP), there are now only 11,569 ATMs in the country while the number of bank branches in Portugal has fallen significantly since 2010, with almost 2,000 branches closing in the last decade.

According to the latest data, in 2008, there were 13,637 ATMs, which fell to 11,569 in 2018, or 2,068 less.

The year in which there were more ATMs was in 2010 when there were 14,614. If the accounts were made compared to that year, the fall until 2018 was more than 3,000 ATMs.

Contrary to the fall in ATMs, there has been an increase in the number of automatic payment terminals, which were 322,336 in 2018, 40,000 more than in 2010.

Compared to 2000, the number of automatic payment terminals (which usually exist in shops, allowing payment of goods and services with a bank card) tripled, since in that year they were few more than 106,000.

The exception was the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, when these terminals decreased, which Banco de Portugal relates to the effects of the crisis which may have been felt in the number of commercial establishments.

According to the central bank, Portugal is still above the eurozone average in terms of both the absolute number of ATMs and the number of ATMs to every million inhabitants.

The number of bank branches in Portugal has also fallen but the number still remains above the euro area average.

According to the long series of the Portuguese banking sector published on 19 November (1990-2018), the number of bank branches in Portugal more than doubled in the 1990s, from less than 2,000 in 1990 to around 5,300 in 2000.

After some stabilisation in the first five years of the new millennium, there was a further increase in the following years, reaching a peak close to 6,500 in 2010. Since then, and especially from 2013 onwards, the number of branches has fallen sharply, standing slightly above 4,000 in 2018.

The document also highlighted that in recent years, the sector has experienced a context of marked reduction in the number of workers, since in 2008 there were a total of 78,963 workers, in 2018 the figure was 62,895 workers (around 16,000 fewer), but still with a predominance of workers with many years of experience and age.

The downward trend in the number of branches also occurred in the euro area, but started earlier than in Portugal, the BdP report said.
In 2018, the number of branches per million inhabitants stood at 405 in Portugal and 395 in the euro area.

Considering total assets, only three countries have a higher number of branches than Portugal (Slovenia, Lithuania and Slovakia), while considering the population this number is slightly higher (Estonia, France, Cyprus, Italy and Austria).

The document points out that after significant growth since 1990, the sector has been in the process of adjusting its size since 2010.

According to data, in 2018 in the euro area, for every 1,000 people, 5.4 work in the banking sector, while that figure is 4.5 in Portugal.

Over the last 30 years, the banking system’s net interest income has also decreased, in a context of a significant reduction in interest rates and financial intermediation margins, as well as a strong deceleration in credit.

After years of strong credit growth, the financial crisis and the adjustment of the Portuguese economy led to an increase in liquidity levels: the ratio of credit to deposits fell from around 150 percent in 2010 to less than 90 percent in 2018.


Why would any trained journalist write “there were a total...”? There WAS a total etc.

By Jude Irwin from Beiras on 24-11-2019 09:12

Another badly written article. No attempt is made to explain why ATMs are disappearing and bank branches are closing. It simply throws a bunch of numbers at us.

These closures represent progress and efficiency given more widespread Internet use. So it's actually good news. I'd rather my bank spent its resources on training personnel and conceptualising new products than waste it on maintaining an obsolete network of ATMs and bank branches whose usage is diminishing through time.

By Jonny from Porto on 22-11-2019 10:48
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.