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Valka residents no longer have local access to banking services

After Swedbank closed its branch in Valka, northern Latvia, residents no longer have local access to banking services, Inguna Johansone, editor-in-chief of the Ziemeļlatvija daily told Latvian Radio January 22. 

Swedbank could also close an ATM, leaving only a SEB teller machine in the border town with a population of about 5,000. This means that locals have to go to Smiltene or Valmiera towns to use banking services.

Meanwhile the local authority is in the process of setting up a credit and savings association, which could cover some of the missing banking functions, such as providing loans to local residents. 

Johansone did say that the Finance Ministry is rather skeptical about this initiative. 

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