The banks here are merging, fusing, joining up, buying each other out and, in general, the number of different 'entities' is going down from 45 cajas de ahorro (savings banks) and a dozen banks just a decade ago to roughly, with ink from the latest mergers still wet, just four or five today.
They don't treat you well, either, these new banks. They are looking for the huge deals, not the pensioner with his fifty euros withdrawal. Since there is so little choice, they can charge you even for taking money out of your (non-interest-paying) current account. You probably won't even get to talk to the cashier, because there isn't one any more. In the last decade, over 110,000 jobs have been lost in the banking sector. Well, 'lost' as in 'fired'. The banks are keener than ever on the bottom line, and it ain't 'customer service'.
Dwelling on this and other changes in our lives, I went for my morning constitutional down towards the local pueblo, an ugly town of 9,000 inhabitants which, while on the coast, has no hotels, no souvenir shops, no discotheques, no foreign urbanisations with their charity shops and Burns Night and, best of all, no tourists. There's a narrow high street with no room for parking yet a fulsome number of cars double-parked with the consequent lack of fluid movement, a couple of Moorish butchers and a number of cafés that open at five or six in the morning and then close for lunch. This seems to be such an extended meal that they won't open again until the following day.
My walk took about half an hour, first through the campo and then into the pueblo itself. I was desirous of making a small withdrawal from my bank - one of those that's still going - and was wondering if there would be time for a coffee before my preferred bar closed for the day. Despite wearing a mask and emitting a gentle wheeze, I was feeling quite refreshed.
But then, disaster.
As the picture shows, the bank - she ain't no more Mister. As the Spanish say, that place is not just closed, it's desaparecido.