In a press release published last December, the Spanish Confederation of Older People’s Organisations (CEOMA) welcomed the measure announced by the Spanish Government to prohibit banks from charging fees to the over-65s for withdrawing cash at the counter. Yet, the Confederation further called for “training in new technologies” to provide older people with the same opportunities as the rest of the population.
CEOMA’s President, Sabina Camacho, explained that the promotion of online banking by banks can “generate fear, insecurity and anxiety among older people, who are not fully integrated into new technologies because they do not have the necessary knowledge”. For this reason, training this group in technology is “essential”.
Mrs Camacho also insisted that these technologies “should be available not only in cities but also in rural Spain”, as the development of online banking services has also led to the closure of many financial institutions, especially in rural areas, and many towns no longer have a bank branch. These bank closures have led to reduced direct contacts with their customers and have caused many of them to travel a long way to reach bank offices that are far from their homes. These long distances can be a real issue for dependent older people who find themselves in a situation of isolation and of greater dependency.
The President of CEOMA also regrets that many retirees who pay mortgages are being driven into poverty by the rising cost of living. In view of this situation, she has called on the Government to approve “as soon as possible” the measure announced yesterday by the First Vice-President and Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, to raise this year the income threshold to qualify for mortgage aid (from 29,400 gross to around 38,000 euros).