Barclays bank tells councillor to resend Welsh language message in English
Barclays bank has come under fire for telling a councillor to resend a Welsh language message in English.
The London-headquartered multinational has been criticised by Plaid Cymru MS, Mabon ap Gwynfor, for its response to the Deputy Leader of Gwynedd Council, Dafydd Meurig.
The message from Barclays said: “Hi, I’m really sorry we’re not able to translate your message here. Please can you send this again in English. – Aime”.
In response, Mabon ap Gwynfor, the Plaid Cymru MS for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said: “While the big companies are closing high street banks and pushing people online, this response shows how Welsh language communities are going to lose out. Online banking isn’t available in Welsh, without mentioning customer care through forums like this.”
— Dafydd Meurig (@DafyddMeurig) December 2, 2021
‘Ditch the bank’
Dafydd Meurig told Barclays that he was telling Gwynedd Council to ditch the bank in favour of the Welsh cooperative Banc Cambria, which is in the process of being set up.
This was in response to Barclays shutting branches in Porthmadog and Caernarfon.
According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Nia Jeffreys has criticised Barclays, claiming “they put profit before people.”
In an open letter on the matter, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS said: “Banks have been ripped out of our towns at an astounding rate, which shows no regard for the people who have helped banks make huge profits.
“Barclays has already shut 63 branches this year.
“According to the Financial Conduct Authority, people in Wales are most likely to have to travel large distances to get to a bank branch: 7.5 per cent of residences are more than 16km away.”
Liz Saville Roberts, the MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, added: “I completely disagree with Barclays’ advice that all customers should move to online banking because not everybody has access to a reliable internet connection, particularly in rural areas like parts of Dwyfor Meirionnydd where reliable digital connectivity is a problem.
“Many older people are also reluctant to use the internet for any financial matters.
“Ending banking services in Porthmadog will have an adverse impact on businesses and individuals in the town and surrounding communities.”
‘Never an easy one’
A Barclays spokesperson told the Daily Post: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one. However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking. As a result, we are seeing a sustained fall in branch visits across the UK.
“This is reflected at the Porthmadog branch where there has been a 13 per cent reduction in counter transactions in the two years to March 2020. In addition, 81 per cent of our customers at the branch are also using different ways to bank.
“This is reflected at the Caernarfon branch where there has been a 26 per cent reduction in counter transactions in the two years to March 2020. In addition, 81 per cent of our customers at the branch are also using different ways to bank.
“We will work with our customers and provide alternative options to ensure they can continue to manage their money and receive financial expertise when required.”
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