The disappearance of businesses and banks. Thus Calabria turns out to be “deserted”


By John

Among the many indicators to consider to evaluate the health of a local economy there is one that perhaps incontrovertibly represents the current situation. To offer it is Unioncamere: also in the first three months of 2024, in Calabria, there were more businesses have closed than those that have opened. Against 2,629 registrations in the business register, in the same period considered 2,885 terminations were recorded. The total balance is minus 286 production companies between the Pollino and the Strait.
A worrying trend, combined with the decline in residents, and which intersects with what was found at the end of March by the Bank of Italy: Calabria is at the bottom of the country in terms of the number of credit institutions and financial intermediaries in the area. It is therefore understandable that the endemic difficulties of the production system are associated with those relating to access to credit and financial services. “In these conditions there is a high risk that entrepreneurs and citizens fall into the hands of usury”, Emilio Contrasto, general secretary of Unisin, one of the main trade unions in the sector, made clear to Tgr Calabria a few days ago.

Banking desertification

In the period from 1 January 2015 to 1 January 2023, Calabria went from 4,262 to 2,939 branches with a loss of 1,323 offices and with a significant decrease in the number of people employed in the sector which went from 34,737 to 25,374 with a loss of 9,363 jobs. «The situation in Calabria – explains Gianfranco Suriano, regional secretary of Unisin/Confsal – reflects in its complexity the general situation in Southern Italy and the national one. The number of branches per 100 thousand inhabitants will stand at 17 in this region in 2023. There are as many as 555 thousand people who reside in municipalities without bank branches and 28 thousand companies based in municipalities that cannot count on on-site banking services. More fortunate, if we can say so, are the 317 thousand inhabitants of the Calabrian municipalities who can use a single branch and the 18 thousand companies which for consultancy and financial activities can turn to a branch in the area in which they are based. In one year, therefore, we record that as many as 38 thousand people and 2,100 companies have been deprived of a bank branch in their municipality of residence”.
Going into detail, in the province of Catanzaro there are 22 bank branches per 100 thousand inhabitants, in Cosentino 19 and in Reggino 15. The Vibonese and Crotonese areas close the ranking with 16 and 15 banking facilities on average respectively.