Thursday, May 31, 2007

No problem with proximity of bank services in the Netherlands

As an odd local Dutch thing we have an ongoing discussion (see earlier posts here) about whether or not payment services are sufficiently available in terms of proximity. This is due to the fact that around the millenium Dutch banks were quite early in closing branches (foreseeing/adapting to the effects of the Internet) and sometimes did so in a brutal/straightforward way; basically not treating their customers with all the respect they deserved. Still, about 99,9% of the public has a bank service within 5 kilometer of its house.

Today a group consisting of municipalities, smaller town organisations, bank, consumers, retailers and physically disabled finalised their work on the investigation if there were any remaining problems with this issue. They concluded they couldn't really find any problems, but nevertheless, in order to answer to the political discussion on proximity of bank services they agreed that they would monitor the developments closely. They also made an agreement to solve any local issues quickly by working closely together.

It will be interesting to see if anyone picks up on their press release. The title is: no problem in proximity of payment services. So my guess is that no one is going to pay attention to this non-issue. Execept perhaps for the politician Ferd Crone who still believes he's got his hands on a major social issue here and is most likely to pursue his draft legislative proposal anyhow (which more and more begins to look like a search for the Holy Grail).