Call for banks to take rural constituencies into account as another branch closes on Anglesey
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
Anglesey politicians from both sides have met with “disappointment” the news that another high street bank which gives a “crucial service” to island residents will close.
Plaid Cymru’s MS Rhun ap Iorwerth and Conservative MP Virginia Crosbie have responded after the announcement that Lloyds will close its Boston Street branch on January 23, 2023.
Mr ap Iorwerth, the Senedd Member for Ynys Môn said he was “hugely disappointed” that Holyhead faced “yet another blow.”
MP Virginia Crosbie said it was “disappointing news” and that bank closures in rural constituencies “hit communities harder” than other areas due to distances, transport and broadband issues.
Mr ap Iorwerth said: “We’ve seen too many banks turn their backs on Anglesey over the years.”
“I will now be meeting with Lloyds bank officials to discuss the matter further.
“I will be emphasising the strength of feeling following this announcement – surely there are more innovative ways of ensuring that banks remain open in our communities?
“I’ve called on them to work together in the past to bring their services under one roof, for example. Having face to face banking interaction is crucial for many.”
“It’s a matter that I’ve raised time and time again, big banks are simply turning their backs on rural communities such as Ynys Môn.
“We cannot rely on them, and I’m very supportive of the work being done to develop a new Banc Cambria initiative.”
He also said he was seeking information over why help from a community banker, advertised on the website, would only be available for a short period of time.
“I’m afraid it’s not much of a consolation,” he said.
MP Virginia Crosbie said: “This is disappointing news and in rural constituencies bank closures hit communities harder than in other areas due to issues around distances to other banks, public transport and broadband coverage.
“We need to have the ability that those who need to bank in person can do so and I would like to see banks start to look at working together to have pooled premises and services so people who want to physically visit a branch are not penalised.
“In other parts of Wales customers are able to speak to representatives of their bank at Community Banks once a month and I would like to see if this could happen on Anglesey.
“The UK government is also planning to make it a legal requirement for retail banks to provide deposit and withdrawal facilities for customers within certain distances in the upcoming Financial Services and Markets Bill.
“This is a good idea but it would need to take into account rural distances rather than those that live in towns are used to.
“However, we all must accept that customers are not using bank branches in the numbers they used to and many now bank online. This trend is not going to change.
“When it happens and banks close it is vital we have education and support for customers to make the change to online.”
The bank also announced its Gwynedd branch on Stryd Fawr, Pwllheli would also be shutting at the same time.
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