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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

A portfolio against financial depopulation

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Sitting in a small but extremely tidy office, María del Carmen Ávila is checking and ordering the precise 355 letters and packages she has to deliver that day in Belmonte de Tajo, the town in Madrid where she works as a rural postwoman. It’s 10:06 am and he has half an hour to load his cart and hit the road. As he types his PDA to register the letters that the residents of Belmonte have brought to the post office with various destinations, he does the same by hand in a book of clear and small handwriting. “Speak gray hair, shut up. The old portfolio taught me and I continue to do it for safety,” he stresses. He talks about Nicolasa Carralero, his mother-in-law, from whom he learned the profession in addition to the profession. avila, wallet for the new neighbors The daughter of El Púa Three decades ago, when he was 22, he published his first cover as a rural folder for the indigenous people. Now it embodies the transformation these postal workers have represented in recent years: digitizing their trade and offering more fundamental benefits to citizens: from collecting utility bills to conducting procedures with government. “We are the generation of change. We still carry the traditional services (letters and parcels) and the new ones, such as delivering cash from customers’ bank accounts or DGT ID cards,” he explains.

the heart of the village

One of the office walls is covered with posters announcing the new benefits: “Pay your bills at the post office. With card or cash,” they say. The other three, cornered by a counter, carry shelves full of letters, locked cupboards and a map with the city map on which some streets have been crossed out in pencil and renamed. “They were wrong on the internet. I don’t look at it, it’s all in my head. Not just house numbers, but where each recipient lives. I get stuck when I go on vacation and they come to replace me,” he says. When he explains how his everyday life is organized (he arrives at 7.30am, takes care of the public until 10.30am, does the distribution until 2.30pm and returns to the post office at the end of his working day). Voice of Jesus sneaks through the door, a retired neighbor handing out a stick of wood:

-Hi. I have something?

“Today there is nothing.

– Well, better buddy donkey. LOL! See you tomorrow.

He knows all sides of the coin in detail.

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Rural Portfolio María del Carmen Ávila puts up a poster about the new bill collection service on the board of the post office in Belmonte de Tajo.asian martin

After Jesús leaves, Roberto Soldador enters the office and puts a package on the shelf: urgent delivery. Ávila reads the QR code with his electronic device and registers the order. Virtual management that reflects another of the great plans of the public company: the digitization of its offices, including those of rural towns. So far, it has digitized 16 of its 2,295 offices and customer service points in rural areas.

The final minutes elapse before his route begins, with other neighbors poking their heads in the door to say hello or inquire beyond the post office area. María de la O, the tenant who lives next door to the office, stays in the frame and asks the purse where to leave the toys for the charity flea market to help a city kid with cancer: “They come in and they ask me about everything and I help them where I can,” explains Ávila. The transit of these people and their duties reflect that this office is much more than a mail center, that it is more the urban heart of a city where neighbors ask for advice and daily doubts are clarified.

From three bank branches to just one

Throughout its route, Ávila marks an easy step through a city where the atmosphere breathes slowly and the rhythm of everyday life feels leisurely. Despite the population growth of the last decade (1,751 inhabitants according to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics), Belmonte de Tajo suffers from a certain financial depopulation. Of the three banks that had a branch in the city, only one remains. And many neighbors, especially the older ones, are forced to pay commissions in other units to earn money or to move to larger towns in the area such as Villaconejos, Colmenar de Oreja or Chinchón. To alleviate the situation, last year Correos launched Correos Cash, a service that allows residents to withdraw and deposit cash from their bank accounts via the postman, either at the office or from home, using their ID and debit.

Exactly on that day, Nicolasa Carralero, the former portfolio who handed over the witness to Ávila, asked for a handover of money. He receives his daughter-in-law in his living room to carry out the service on a stretcher. Ávila photographs the DNI and the credit card with his PDA, Carralero sign on the electronic device and a paper receipt. Later he opens the envelope with the money: “It’ll be over soon,” he exclaims, laughing. This woman, who years ago helped her neighbors, has become a user of the services of the company where she has worked for more than 30 years. Especially from the new financial benefits.

“It’s a very good thing because now the banks have decided to close and you’re fasting. They have to move to other cities,” he says. Her husband, José Yunta, a former blacksmith in town, asks her: “And you have to leave before 11:00 a.m. because if you leave later, they won’t take care of you.” The problem, they emphasize during the conversation, is that not all older people fight back against the cashiers; They need personal treatment to do their banking. “That’s why postmen do it very well. They are people who help many people who trust them,” comments Carrelero. He speaks from experience. As early as the 1970s, he read the letters of a neighbor who was blind due to old age and wrote many more to send to her son in Madrid. Last week, banking sector associations – AEB, CECA and UNACC – signed a package of measures to ensure coverage for vulnerable groups, including the over-65s, such as: B. the extension of the service times.

Ávila helps Nicolasa Carralero sign the receipt before receiving the money in cash in the days before she requested it from the post office.
Ávila helps Nicolasa Carralero sign the receipt before receiving the money in cash in the days before she requested it from the post office.ASIA MARTIN

The Belmonte GPS

Ávila knows the slopes of Belmonte like the lines on the palm of his hand. Some, overly steep, motivated visitors several centuries ago to baptize the city as a nod to the Castilian city of Toledillo. He subconsciously avoids potholes and parks the cart strategically so that gravity doesn’t work and the mail reaches its recipient. “It’s a city where they don’t like mailboxes, so I put the letters under the doors,” he explains. If it’s a registered letter or package, you almost always know the recipient’s schedule and their schedule tricks to receive orders. Laura Salinas, for example, opens her window to retrieve a small, bulky envelope. Parcels make up a large portion of Ávila’s deliveries, reflecting the growth of e-commerce in recent years. In fact, Correos has become one of the companies with the greatest national weight in the distribution of packages, both in large cities and in small towns. In just five years, the logistics company has moved 52.3 million packages to 208.9 million.

In addition to the names of the neighbors, those of Belmonte’s cats and dogs are also archived in the memory of Ávila. When I walk down Fuela street, Nero, Living up to its name, Jesus’ dog barks wildly as a warning when the bag passes. Next door the Dalmatians kobu Y Lys They lick their palm before their owner opens the gate for a certified envelope. “I never read the address and number, always the person’s name. This is important because electricity and water companies sometimes make mistakes and do not print the address correctly. I know where everyone lives,” says the portfolio.

But he doesn’t always deliver the mail to his fellow citizens’ doors; sometimes he goes to places he knows the recipient is at that time. “Wait. I have a letter for Martin. I’m sure he’s sitting on the usual bench,” he announces, approaching three old men: Lucio Sánchez, Jesús Isidro (aka Mouse) and Martín, whose real name is Carlos García, but everyone calls him by his father’s name. He hands the latter an envelope. Everyone laughs when they see her. “Is a Phenomenon. He brings us the envelopes and if he wants [nuestra] at home and we’re not here, leave a little note so we can go to the office,” explains Ratón. Sánchez murmurs a few words of approval and Martín, who is wearing a rag hat inherited, he says, about his grandson, he looks up at the journalists and says: “There is no problem here.”

Belmonte’s portfolio delivers an envelope to Carlos García, aka “Martín”, on the bench where he usually sits with his friends. /ASIA MARTIN

The route comes to an end and without losing the rhythm of a few steps used to walking the streets, Ávila returns to the post office to finish the last edges of his working day, where he manages to learn about the micrologistics of Belmonte de Tajo, many of its problems, doubts and joys.

Source elpais.com

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