Spain's national postal service, Correos, believes it can play an important role in the fight against depopulation in rural areas of Spain.
The state company is studying the installation of automatic cash machines in small towns and villages that do not have a bank.
As from next year the company is to start placing them in their offices in towns with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants that lack any bank offices or ATM machines to avoid residents having to make long trips to carry out common cash withdrawal tasks.
The best locations for the machines are currently being studied and, initially, they will be installed in 109 Correos branches throughout the country.
The cash machines will be supplied by Euro Automatic Cash - a leading Spanish company in the management of ATMs which is backed by the Banco Santander Group and Crédit Mutuel.
Correos has also reached an agreement with Banco Santander which allows the bank's clients to make deposits or withdraw cash at 844 post office service points.
These operations are carried out via CorreosCash and, using the service, postal staff can deliver money to any address in Spain. In Malaga, this service is already available in 131 offices.
Correos has started a pilot project in some Andalusian municipalities through which rural postal delivery staff can offer many of the services provided in post offices at people's homes, thanks to the portable electronic devices that the staff carry.
People will be able to buy basic postal products such as pre-stamped and padded envelopes and send them using the standard flat rate of Correos parcels. Residents of rural areas will also be able to pay utility bills such as electricity, gas or telephone bills, or acquire the DGT environmental badges for their vehicles via the Correo staff's PDAs.
Laura Romero, a rural postal delivery worker in Benarrabá and Estación de Gaucín, knows the special needs of people in rural areas. "The postal service is essential in these environments, especially for the elderly," she said.