Banks Will Move Further Away From Rural Areas, Says Swedbank CEO ({{commentsTotal}})

The head offices of Swedbank Estonia.
The head offices of Swedbank Estonia. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

After announcing a temporary U-turn on closing a number of rural branches, Swedbank CEO Priit Perens said it is only a matter of time when bank offices can only be found in county centers.

“The question is why the bank branches are needed. Primarily it is to talk about certain transactions, in which the client would like to meet the bank, and the bank the client – mortgages, investments, pension advise,” Perens told Eesti Ekspress in an interview today.

He said in many rural places there is little need for mortgages for example, and many clients believe that they can get a better deal when they travel closer to the banks' headquarters in Tallinn.

Swedbank had planned to close nine rural branches by the beginning of July, but has now postponed the decision for a year. Swedbank also came under fire a few weeks ago when it announced the end to cash operations at its Haapsalu branch, with a regional head of the banks saying the 10,000 population city is not important enough.