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Brief Published: 19 Aug 2013

Spain's Bank on Wheels


Bankia, Spain’s fourth-largest bank, is bringing its banking services to some of Spain’s most isolated residents with a new mobile banking service.

Following a government bailout earlier this year, Bankia has been forced to close outlets and fire more than a quarter of its workforce. This has left many of its customers in rural regions without access to banking services.

Bankia’s “bank on wheels” aims to provide banking services to the 17 small towns in the Spanish district of Valencia that have been left without permanent branches. The bus aims to visit each town at least once a month, according to Antonio Soto, Bankia’s regional director.

High-street banks across Europe are being forced to slash jobs and make cutbacks on services in the wake of the banking crisis. Around 20,000 branches have shut in the past four years, according to data from the European Central Bank.

Bankia’s decision to set up a mobile banking service echoes a local government scheme launched last year in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston residents can register to vote, dispute parking fines and even request a birth certificate from their doorsteps using the City Hall to Go mobile service, which is housed in an ex-SWAT truck from the city’s police department.

We take a closer look at how banks are creating more personalised, community-centric branches in Personalising the Banking Experience and Reinventing Banks: The Battle to Win Back Trust. For more ideas on how other public services can become more user-centric, take a look at Thinkpublic: Social Design.