Four months after its implementation, banking brought more problems to Cubans

four months after application so-called process of banking in cubaIn which the government is trying to eliminate the obligation of having a bank account along with cash transactions and using electronic payment methods for people and companies, Officials admit that its impact was not as much as expected.

According to a report on the results of the process shared by the Central Bank of Cuba (BCC) with the official site cubedebate“There are businesses that own payment channels and do not guarantee their customers access to them; there is resistance on the part of direct sellers belonging to state businesses, and providers of goods and services that lack the necessary technical conditions , or they are found in so-called silent zones.

The note indicates that although by February all economic actors in Cuba must have the conditions to accept payments by electronic transfers made between bank accounts, “Many do not create the circumstances or do not manage to avoid the treasury.”

In addition to resistance and rejection of the process, the BCC also believes that Part of the population blames “the fact that they were not consulted as to the manner in which they were to receive their salaries.” (cash or card); And complaints persist among customers who are unable to choose a payment method at private or government establishments.”

Other than this, The infrastructure is not sufficient to implement the measure, especially in the interior of the island.Whereas “non-state economic actors have no formal markets where they can obtain foreign currency, which is why they continue to hoard cash, and demand payment that way from their customers.”

“These actors do not deposit deposits in the bank in a stable manner and continue to have a poor perception about the services of the bank branches“which do not yet respond to the real needs of natural and legal persons,” the note said.

According to the BCC report, although electronic transactions increased in Cuba during the pandemic, particularly with state payment gateways TransferMóvil and Enzona, the growth leveled off in 2023. Assurance cubedebate That “since Resolution 111/2023 was approved, cash withdrawal operations have decreased. “Also, there has been progress in the use of electronic payment methods and channels, with an increase of 21.10% in the month of December compared to September.”

However, “these increases are not commensurate with the increase in the number of entities that have contracted the gateway’s services, which is 30% since September,” warned BCC Minister President Joaquín Alonso Vázquez, speaking last December. Before the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP).

At the end of 2023, the report states, “operations in payment card-linked accounts that do not involve cash represented 68.30%, 4.94 percentage points higher than at the end of 2022.”

alonso vazquez pointed out Service quality in the banking and financial system was rated poor in 2023. At these establishments, he said, “the demand for national and foreign currency and the capabilities of many branches have greatly increased compared to previous years.”

And although, given the frequent complaints of the population about large lines at banks, the authorities decided to reserve ATMs exclusively for the people, “The service still remains critical, hampered by low availability of cash, persistent shortage of electrical energy and their technical condition.”

The Cuban banking system has 800 ATMs, most of them “with a high level of drawdown, and their availability to withdraw cash does not exceed 75% on average. The most affected provinces are Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo and There are Matanzas,” he added. Report.

Banks are also in trouble for another reason: labor fluctuationsWhich mainly affected establishments in Havana.

And the BCC believes: “In this context, the population, and especially a group of non-state actors, tend to hold cash with them. This phenomenon leads to a reduction in offers and the need to buy provisions in the black in the market Is related to “.

As predicted, Banking corruption brought more pain than glory to entrepreneurs. Workers at a branch of Banco Popular de Ahorro in Unión de Reyes, Matanzas, where there are no ATMs or point-of-sale terminals, complained. cubedebate that “most companies in the region have accounts at the Banco de Credito y Comercio (Bandec) and give their employees magnetic cards from that bank, which makes it difficult to withdraw salaries; because Bandec branches are only found in municipal capitals. , while the popular councils have branches of the “Banco Popular de Ahorro”.

Result? Many people of the area have to go to the Municipal Corporation seat to collect their salary. The same is true for farmers, who live in isolated areas and often do not have smartphones, who prefer to withdraw cash when selling their crops so that they have cash in hand when needed.

“The co-operative-farmer sector is still not in a position to cope with banking at the level that the country needs.”he quoted cubedebate To Rafael Pridas La O, President of the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) in Mayabeque, Nueva Paz Municipality.

“It is difficult to leave the farm to spend the whole day in bank queues to withdraw cash. Even more so because of the severe transport situation and the distance between the popular councils that form the municipality. Today we have more cooperatives in their accounts than two There are over a million pesos that they cannot withdraw. The farmer needs money at the bottom of the farm, because today the worker asks for up to 1,000 pesos for a morning’s work, and he wants it in cash.To buy almost everything required for living,” the official said.

“If we ask in advance, we can get up to 600,000 or 700,000 cups. But I have farmers with 50 workers who have to pay about 50,000 pesos a day in total. This, in the cost of fuel, parts and fertilizers “Adding up to Rs 600,000, the cups taken out of the bank are tight, enough for a week,” he indicated.

Despite all of the above, the Cuban government continues to promote the process that eliminates the use of cash and places people’s and companies’ money, as well as control over it, in the banks of a country whose economy does not produce essential goods. Does this for its operation..

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