Tomorrow, as has been loudly proclaimed in all the local newspapers, one of the regional banks here is opening a new branch, and we are all invited along to witness it. There will be balloons and smiling faces and plenty of smartly dressed financial advisers on hand to make sure you believe your money is being invested in the best possible places to make someone a profit. The bank in question is one which is very proud of its regional, local placement. They are there, along with the other regional bank, for local customers, and even claim to know many of them personally.
The new bank building is a gray concrete building block with windows on the main street through the town. It replaces the old branch building – and equally ugly white and red monstrosity – which, according to the information being quietly handed out, was found to be too big. Too many customers, it must be admitted, are changing to online banking, away from the traditional, personal form. Added to which, with the building of the new bridge over the railway lines and the closure of the road as a thoroughfare, not many people would have found their way to the branch building. The rival local bank is easier to access, in a better position in town.
Photo Source: Matthew Hester – Creative Commons
It is good, many may well feel, that a local bank is prepared to invest, prepared to open a new branch – even if it is just replacing one which was already there. It shows they are interested in the local customers, in the local economy as much as in their own business. In the back of your mind, however, you need to hold any other small piece of information: this same local bank has closed at least seven branches that I know of over the last few years, without replacement. Towns which used to have a bank building with tellers and personal service are now served once, maybe twice a week by a traveling bank, a converted truck.
Still, there are balloons…
- Viktoria Michaelis.