11Onze Check: CaixaBank’s supposed inclusion
The First Vice-President and Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, has demanded a new plan from the banks to guarantee the financial inclusion of the elderly. The banks have promised to come up with new solutions within a month. But just four days after the requirement, CaixaBank has given a response to the State through various media outlets that provokes a certain ‘déjà vu’. We contrast it with the 11Onze Check Bias Method.
The report published by the Bank of Spain on 4 August 2021 warned that the consolidation of the financial sector, accompanied by the massive closure of bank branches and staff reductions, has left 1.3 million citizens vulnerable to financial exclusion.
In this context, it urged banks to find alternative solutions to ensure access to cash, especially in less densely populated areas. The study noted that, in some rural areas, mobile offices or financial agents have been operating for years in different municipalities to facilitate access to banking services.
Even so, it recommended using the network of post offices as complementary access points to branches and Cash Machines, to reach the level of countries such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Australia, which make widespread use of this solution. These recommendations urged the Asociación Española de Banca (AEB) and the Confederación Española de Cajas de Ahorros (CECA) to promote the Protocolo estratégico para reforzar el compromiso social y sostenible de la banca.
However, these measures have not been applied throughout the country, or have proved insufficient to alleviate the unease of a part of the population that feels scorned by the banks. A phenomenon that has gone viral with the declarations of Carlos San Juan, a 78-year-old pensioner, and his petition on Change.org for a more humane banking system. The protest has prompted the Spanish government to demand that banks take new measures to guarantee the financial inclusion of the elderly.
CaixaBank’s response has not been long in coming and several media outlets have echoed it. At 11Onze Check we have analysed how the specialised digital media have disseminated this information and, specifically, we focus on the article published by ‘Cinco Días‘. We have come to the conclusion that it has a 60% bias.
The article merely repeats the information found in CaixaBank’s press release. The figures published are presented without the source of the information, beyond the CaixaBank press release and the population data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE). This is a fact that is repeated in other articles published by various media and communication agencies, such as ‘El Economista‘, ‘Europa Press‘ and ‘Las Provincias‘.
There is no alternative voice to the CaixaBank communiqué. At no point is there any reference to the government’s meetings with financial institutions and banking employers’ associations, where it was agreed that the Observatorio por la Inclusión Financiera should carry out a diagnosis of the situation in order to find new solutions to a banking response that has so far proved insufficient to guarantee financial inclusion for the whole of society.
The headline of the article tells us that CaixaBank responds to the Government, and the first paragraph specifies that this is in reference to the fact that the Government is urging the financial sector to guarantee financial inclusion. What is not explained is that this response from CaixaBank is practically identical to the response that the same financial institution published in August last year, and which was also echoed by ‘Cinco Días’, at the time, in an almost identical article, as if it were a case of recycling an out-of-date press release.
The article leaves out a key element: that the government has demanded a 30-day plan for banks to detail how they will improve financial services for the elderly. Instead, it merely publishes a statement from CaixaBank that does not provide any new solutions. Nor is there any mention of people’s unease at the queues at banks and the lack of service, caused by the massive closure of bank branches, and the main reason for financial exclusion. Nor is there any mention is made of the record profits of the banks and, specifically, the profit of more than 5,3 billion euros that CaixaBank made in 2021.
The information is foggy because the article talks about the good work CaixaBank is doing in a news format, when in reality it is neither news, nor anything new, nor a good job, given the reaction of the population and the new demands of the state government.
VOCATION OF SERVICE
It is very clear that the article is not intended to serve the public interest, but rather to act as a megaphone for CaixaBank’s media response to a government request for more social commitment from banks.
To know more about the Bias Method we have used to compare this information, you will find it here. If you would like to send us economic information to verify, you can do so by writing to [email protected].
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