Some 60,000 people from Badajoz have to take the car or face a long walk to get cash. Almost 40% of the municipal pattern do not have an ATM in their neighborhood. The closure of banking entities in recent years has caused this situation that affects, especially, the elderly.
“Every time we need something, we have to take the car or walk to the San Fernando neighborhood. It is a very big inconvenience and at least I am worth it, but there are many older people who do not have resources and must send someone in their place,” laments Juan Vega, a 65-year-old resident of Las 800. The only entity of Padre Tacoronte closed years ago. It served his neighborhood and also Gurugú, Los Colorines and El Progreso, a total of 7,000 residents who have been left without this service.
They have not been the only ones. In addition to the neighborhoods of Padre Tacoronte, Antonio Domínguez, La Paz, Suerte de Saavedra or Las Vaguadas have lost their ATMs. Added to this are neighborhoods that have never had one such as Cerro de Reyes, Cerro Gordo or La Pilara.
No ATM in Las Vaguadas
Las Vaguadas has been the last neighborhood in Badajoz to join the list of those who must inevitably take the car if they need cash. This urbanization had a bank in its commercial area, but it closed years ago.
“Customers sometimes don’t have cash and have to go to Badajoz”
He has a business in Las Vaguadas
To cover the neighbours’ needs, an ATM without an office was installed inside the shopping center. It was a partial solution, since he was under cover in an area that was only open for a few hours. Now, however, the situation is worse because last Tuesday they removed the ATM.
The neighbors have asked if they will install a new one, but they have been told no, that they are left without this service in the neighborhood. This problem affects the 5,500 residents of Las Vaguadas and 800 more in the Dehesilla de Calamón. They must travel three kilometers.
Tomás Barrientos is the owner of the Las Vaguadas supermarket, in this neighborhood, and is also a resident of La Dehesilla. His business is next to the premises where there was a bank and he is a daily witness of the difficulties of his clients to have cash. «We manage to go to Badajoz, when possible. If we don’t have time, we can’t go. A cashier would be needed here. Clients sometimes don’t have cash and have to go to the city”, he adds.
“We could use an ATM, we are many neighbors and we have to move far”
Saavedra’s Lucky Neighbor
Residents of Suerte de Saavedra, the Seville highway and Cerro San Miguel also have to travel a long way when they need money. In total there are almost 7,000. “A lot of people live here and there’s nothing,” says Soledad González, 28. She does not remember the ATM that she had before on Felipe Trigo Avenue. «That was a long time ago, now I have to go to Avenida de Europa or San Roque, to the last of San Roque. By car of course, and if I don’t have a car, walking, because around here it’s complicated. It would be good for us to have an ATM, whatever it is, because now we have to travel very far ».
There are neighborhoods in Badajoz that have never had an ATM. Some new, such as Cerro Gordo or La Pilara, and others that have been around for a long time, such as Cerro de Reyes. «I have been here 27 years and we have never had. You have to go to Carrefour or to San Roque, everyone usually goes where they have their bank,” laments Adelino Lozano Gil, 62, and a resident of Cerro de Reyes.
“Whoever has a car, goes by car. The one who doesn’t, he has to walk. We could really use a cashier, please. There are many things that are already paid by card, but others that are not. You are not going to pay for the bread with a card, “concludes Lozano Gil.
The residents of Cerro Gordo, 5,900 according to the latest municipal census, have come to demonstrate and write to banks to ask for an ATM, since they must travel 6 kilometers. “But we’re still the same,” complains the president of his neighborhood group, Antonio Osorio. This neighborhood has requested that a similar program be applied in the capital of Badajoz to that of the Diputación that subsidizes the installation of ATMs in small towns.
On the opposite side there is a neighborhood that has been saved. It is Llera. Jesús Luengo, president of the neighborhood association, details that before they had three bank offices and now only one ATM without an entity “but at least it solves the basics for the neighbors.”
There is also a single ATM, although with an office, on Elvas Avenue, where there used to be several financial entities. It is the one that the residents of Las Moreras, the Guadiana Urbanization, Jardines del Guadiana or the Cuartón Cortijo have as a reference. 8,000 neighbors and a single ATM in an area that continues to grow.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.