The local council of Ubbergen in Gelderland has given Regio bank a €10,000 subsidy to set up a cash machine in a village of 1,800 people.
The ATM, in the Spar supermarket in the village of Leuth, is thought to be the first subsidised cash machine in the country.
‘It was something villagers really wanted,’ local council executive Leidy van der Aalst told the Volkskrant on Friday. ‘I see it as supporting a local initiative, like paying for playground facilities.’
‘We are supporting an important provision in the village. It is a non-profit provision which aims to make the village a better place to live.’
The big banks are all withdrawing from more rural towns and villages by closing branches and taking away ATMs. The central bank says the number of ATMs has gone down 13% to 7,500 since 2008.
Regiobank, part of nationalised SNS Reaal, has developed a plan to fill the gap by getting councils to help pay for the cash machine. It is asking them to pay half the running costs – put at €700 a month.
Regiobank has written to a number of local councils in Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Zeeland and Gelderland suggesting the joint funding plan. ‘It is a non-commercial activity which is not profitable,’ director Hans van den Bor told the Volkskrant. ‘Without financial support, Leuth would not have an ATM.’
Leuth had never had a cash machine before and locals had to travel six kilometres to their nearest source of cash.
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