During the confinement caused by the covid-19, every citizen who needed cash was able to approach a cashier, touch the touch screen and, with relief, see how it came out of the slot. Anyone could also pay their receipts or find out about the conditions of a loan at a bank branch. Small but essential actions that were possible thanks to banks such as CaixaBank, which during the pandemic practically operated at full capacity.
In an attempt to alleviate the damage of a crisis with so many aspects, the entity has implemented measures aimed at the country’s social and economic actors: self-employed, SMEs, families, businesses, the elderly, tenants, unemployed due to the recession.
Guarantee basic operations
With half of its staff working remotely and the other half on-site, the bank has maintained 97% of its activity in the more than 2,000 municipalities through which it extends. In the branches, equipped according to the measures that the health authorities dictate, today any essential management can be done.
For those who want to operate remotely, the CaixaBankNow telematic service allows them to process everything essential. Simply enter via the web or download the CaixaBank app on a mobile device. The use of this service grew by 25% in the first three months of the year. In parallel, according to the entity, the influx of customers to branches decreased by 75% in April.
Support for economic agents
Greengrocers, clothing stores, perfumeries, bakeries, department stores, stationeries … Large and small, many businesses are slowed down and weighed down by the crisis. The fixed costs of the reopening, the few guarantees to recover that investment or the stocks that accumulate with no apparent exit lead economic agents to difficult situations. To mitigate this decline, CaixaBank has provided loans for 14,000 million for the business sector. A small business is directed to a plan with specific financing, a bonus for the use of POS and electronic commerce software to relaunch remote sales.
To this are added the ICO-Covid-19 lines. Until mid-May, the entity processed more than 143,000 applications worth more than 12,000 million euros.
An umbrella against unemployment
The economic blow of the coronavirus leaves new bankruptcies every day and causes ERTE that throw many workers into precarious situations. As a consequence, family economies become unbalanced. For those people who have been left without work or affected by an employment regulation file, CaixaBank forgives the rent of the homes it owns. According to the bank, more than 4,300 families have availed themselves of this aid since the state of alarm was declared.
For citizens who are paying a mortgage, the entity postpones the amortization of capital for up to a maximum of one year, as long as it is their first home. As of April 23, 147,000 clients requested some form of mortgage or consumer moratorium. The entity has announced a seven-day advance in the payment of unemployment benefits to its clients during the state of alarm.
The oldest and the most vulnerable
During a pre-pandemic morning it was easy to see a trickle of retired citizens approaching the bank branch to collect their pension. Due to mobility restrictions, aimed at containing the contagion, the image is scarce these days. For this reason, in order to respect these health measures and safeguard the health of the elderly, CaixaBank has advanced the payment of pensions by 10 days, during these months, in addition to prioritizing care for people over 65 years of age.
The entity will not return basic receipts (electricity, water, gas) to the 1.8 million pensioners it has among its customers. It has also extended the deadline to carry out some operations so far exclusively face-to-face, such as experience control, and will promote a system of prior appointments to minimize the time of physical exposure.
Food in times of scarcity
Requests for food from social entities have multiplied by four during the pandemic. To combat this upsurge in urban poverty, the La Caixa Foundation and CaixaBank have launched the No Home Without Food program to stock up on these and essential goods. So far, it has raised more than two million euros for the 54 food banks that comprise the Spanish Federation of Food Banks.