E-banking, Italy accelerates but the road is still uphill

According to an analysis by Fabi, the Autonomous Federation of Banking in our country has doubled the share of the population that uses online services, but we remain at the back of the queue among Western economies that prefer the electronic mode to the physical counter

12 Aug 2022

Veronica Balocco

 Web Banking

On access to the bank via digital channels, Italy has made progress, doubling the percentage of the population that uses e-banking, but it still remains at the levels of countries such as Greece and Turkey. This is what emerges from an analysis by Fabi, the Autonomous Federation of Italian Banks.

"Despite the recent acceleration of the digital evolution of the Italian banking system – explains the union – the analysis of the e-banking rate of the European population shows diversified preferences between countries and a degree of 'digital maturity' at different speeds. In 2012, in Italy, only 21% of the population used ebanking services, a figure below half of the European average, equal to 38%, and far from the rate of banking digitization of citizens of the major countries. In less than 10 years in Italy the propensity to use digital channels, although doubled, does not show that it is still in step with Europe because the multi-channel relationship continues to leave room for the direct relationship with customers".

Index of topics

•             Worse than us only Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania

•             Closed over 11 thousand branches in less than 10 years

Worse than us only Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania

According to Eurostat data, the banking union recalls, over the last decade the use of online banking services by the Italian population has been very limited and the experience of social distancing in the most recent post-Covid years has served no purpose. In fact, Italy is still the laggard among western countries across the euro area, with just 45% of the total population preferring e-banking to branch banking services in 2021. Compared to an overall average of 58%, in the European comparison our country precedes only Greece (42%), Turkey (46%), Bulgaria (15%) and Romania (15%) while other important countries such as France (72%), Spain (65%) and Germany (50%) do much better than us.

More than 11 thousand branches closed in less than 10 years

Crossing the statistical data of the Bank of Italy and Istat updated at the end of 2021, Fabi also reveals that, in less than 10 years, Italian banks have closed 11,231 branches: the agencies were 32,881 at the end of 2012, and then fell to 23,480 in 2020 and again to 21,650 at the end of 2021. Since 2012, the analysis continues, the reduction has been equal to 34.16%, while between 2020 and 2021 the contraction was 7.79%: in a single year the closures were 1,830. Banks are also much smaller: from 706 credit institutions in 2012 to 474 in 2020 and 456 in 2021.

The contraction also affected staff: there were 315,238 bank workers at the end of 2012, 275,433 at the end of 2020 and 269,625 at the end of 2021. The net reduction was 45,613 units (-14.47%) between 2012 and 2021 and 5,808 units (-2.11%) between 2020 and 2021.