BANKING

Lenders keep slashing their branches

lenders-keep-slashing-their-branches

The network of Greek banks across the country keeps shrinking year after year, especially outside the country’s two biggest cities, the capital Athens and Thessaloniki. From around 2,000 branches that operated there in 2009, they came to barely 880 at the end of 2020, with a further 100 branches set to shut down by the end of next year.

In Attica and Thessaloniki, the closure of branches has been even more dramatic, with numbers slumping from 2,090 in 2009 to below 800 by end-2020.

In employee terms, the reductions exceed 30,000 staff. Last year alone bank jobs went down by 3,630, according to Bank of Greece figures, with a total of 33,097 employees left.

The shift to online banking, the pandemic’s restrictions and above all the crisis of the 2010s have driven this change.

By the end of 2022 the average number of branches per systemic bank will likely be below 300. Besides Eurobank, which has already attained that target, this is the direction that rival National and Alpha banks are heading, as well as Piraeus Bank which, having absorbed ATEbank, still boasts the largest branch network in the country.