Svensk Kassaservice to close in 2007

Svensk Kassaservice, Sweden's largest provider of over-the-counter financial services, is to close from July 2007, according to a proposal expected before Christmas, reported Seko magazine.

The organisation was only formed in 2002 when the Swedish post office, Posten, split its postal operations from its financial operations.

At 180 locations without an alternative financial service, cash transactions will be handled by other organisations.

Minister for Infrastructure Ulrica Messing told TT that she hoped to be able to put forward a proposal either before Christmas or early next year.

“From a regional policy perspective we must find solutions for how a public service should be coordinated,” she said, pointing out that the range of services offered by Svensk Kassaservice has been declining every year.

Karin Thorborg of the Left Party is protesting against the plans to shut the organisation down.

“It’s about defending people who don’t have bank accounts, cars or the internet and who are dependent upon the cash counters to make their payments,” she said.

The company currently employs 1,500 staff at around 475 offices around Sweden.

It also works in partnership with 220 other companies, such as petrol stations and shops, which handle deposits and withdrawals. This, Ulrica Messing believes, could be the way the service is structured in future.

“Finding partners to cooperate with is a good way to ensure that the service remains. People don’t care if it’s in one place or another,” she said, adding that operating through Apoteket, the state-run pharmacy, or AMS, the labour service, are possible options.