Czech banks closing down dozens of branches
Komercni bank and Ceska sporitelna are closing down dozens of branches, a reaction to falling numbers of visitors to them and the increase in on-line applications. The daily Hospodarske noviny reports that their strategy for branch offices so that customers come primarily when they want to take out mortgage loans, insurance policies or make investment decisions. Rather than banks, in other words, they will serve more as consulting centers. "We expect that customers will carry out normal services like cash transactions or bank transfers between accounts through on-line instruments or remote services," says Komercni banka's spokesman Pavel Zubek. "That's why we're investing a great deal into speeding up the digitization of services." Ceska sporitelna has closed 15 branches since the beginning of the year and more will close soon. In place of bank teller windows, banks will be installing new ATM machines capable of accepting and distributing cash.