The number of cash dispensers in the Netherlands increased again in 2001, while the number of branch banks decreased. This trend - fewer local branch banks and more cashpoints -can also be seen in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria and France. In most other EU countries the number of branch banks is increasing alongside the number of cashpoints.
Fewer local offices
The number of local bank branches in the Netherlands fell from 6.1 thousand in 2000 to 5.7 thousand in 2001. In 1997 there were still more than 7.1 thousand local branches. The number of branch banks has only fallen faster in Sweden since 1997.
The trend is not observed across Europe though. In some EU countries the number of local branch banks has even risen: in Greece (+28 percent) and Portugal (+14 percent) in particular. In Italy, Denmark, Ireland and Spain the number of local branches is also rising.
Number of bank branch offices per million inhabitants
Decrease in bank density
here were an average 360 branch banks for every million inhabitants in the Netherlands in 2001, the equivalent of one office per 2,777 people. In 1997 there were still as many as 460 banks per million people, one for every 2,174. This means that the bank density decreased by 22 percent in the period 1997–2001.
In 2000 the lowest bank density was in Sweden (232) and the United Kingdom (239), the highest densities were encountered in Spain (989) and Germany (727).
More cash dispensers
There were 7.1 thousand cashpoints in the Netherlands in 2001, three percent more than in 2000. In the period 1997- 2000, the number of cashpoints rose by eight percent, from 6.4 thousand in 1997, to 6.9 thousand in 2000.
The increase in the Netherlands is thus the slowest in the EU. Cash dispenser growth rates in other EU countries varied from 11 percent in Austria to sixty percent in Greece.
Number of cash dispensers per million inhabitants
More cashpoints per European
With 436 cash dispensers per million inhabitants, the Netherlands is ahead of four countries with a smaller number per million. The smallest number is in Ireland (307 per million inhabitants). At the other end of the scale, Spain and Portugal (1,152 and 940 cash dispensers per million inhabitants) lead the EU field. In these countries the increase in the number of cash dispensers is also very strong: compared with 1997, Spain had 31 per cent more cashpoints per million inhabitants and Portugal 51 percent more in 2000. In the Netherlands the number rose by only six percent.
Elma van Agtmaal-Wobma