The Small Farmers Union (UPA) of Huelva has denounced in a press release what it describes as a bank collapse in the municipalities of Huelva that produce red fruits.
As explained UPA, «the peak of the collection campaign increases approximately 50,000 working people who access banking services. However, the opening hours, the number of branches and the number of ATMs remain the same.
Distributed throughout the main red fruit-producing municipalities, more than 50,000 seasonal workers need access to banking services in the province. This happens year after year on the same dates, generating a collapse of the offices of certain financial entities.
With a scenario of constant decrease in the number of available branches and where neither hours nor number of ATMs are extended in municipalities where the population doubles or triples, the result is easy to expect. Any user who needs to go to a bank branch to carry out a transaction has waiting times of more than an hour. This includes users of any profile, whether individuals or companies. In the case of companies, the problem occurs in the morning and in the case of workers, the collapse occurs after 4:00 p.m., which is when they finish their working day and go to the ATMs.
In the case of agricultural entrepreneurs, this becomes a problem, because when bank management requires personalized attention at the branch, with these waiting times and with the red fruit plantations at full capacity, going to the bank means losing a important part of the day. All this at a time when the harvest season requires maximum attention at the foot of the field. This is especially problematic in small businesses because it is the time when more workers are on the farm and more attention is required.
UPA Huelva wants to demand a greater availability of means by the banking entities in the strawberry municipalities. In the first place, because it is logical that a greater demand is accompanied by a better service. And secondly, because the situation of collapse that can be observed in the bank offices does not contribute to giving a good image of the importance and social and economic impact that the red fruit campaign has on the municipalities in reality. This is especially reflected in those users who do not work directly in the campaign or residents of these municipalities who do not carry out an agricultural activity, but who do need adequate banking services that are not affected by this situation.
UPA Huelva wants to highlight the effort and performance of bank branch workers during this time, who see how with the same means they must serve a population that doubles or triples. It is the financial entities that must expand their personal and material means and their schedules in the face of a foreseeable increase in their clientele, given that they repeat season after season on the same dates.
UPA Huelva calls on financial entities to reinforce their services in these municipalities during the red fruit campaign. Access to the services contracted by workers and companies during the agricultural campaign is similar campaign after campaign and has a cost in the form of commissions and the corresponding increase in their income statements. There are many millions of euros that move during the red fruit campaign in banking entities, so it is logical that banking services are in line with these figures and there is no loss in personal attention and quality towards users /as», concludes the agrarian association.