Swedbank bank buses, which offer cash withdrawals and other bank services, will no longer visit many rural areas from the beginning of November. Cash withdrawals are now offered by local stores.
The move affects 17 communities around Estonia. Swedbank hopes to close the remaining 30 stops by the end of the year.
“The person says they sum they want to withdraw, inserts a bank card into the terminal and enters a PIN-code, we add the sum and the cash is withdrawn,” said Luule Lindre, head of a store in Järva County.
The service is far better for clients, who had to wait for a bank bus to withdraw cash, and the bus comes as seldom as a few times each month, while stores are usually open from morning to late in the evening.
Shopkeepers, however, are feeling the pressure, as many also have to offer postal services, with Eesti Post closing its own offices in rural areas and moving its services into local stores.
Swedbank, Estonia's biggest private bank, said on average, only 3-5 people per day use the service in each store.
Ulla Ilisson, the bank's head of client service, said many negotiations are still ongoing and contracts will be different. She said they are also talking with local authorities to offer other banking services, such as consultations.
Editor: J.M. Laats