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MPs to launch enquiry into closure of high street banks in Wales

27 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Wales has experienced a rapid decline in the number of high street banking services.

The Welsh Affairs Committee will examine the closures of high street banks in Wales as it launches a new inquiry into access to cash and high street banking.

MPs will consider how declining high street banking services are impacting vulnerable people and small businesses across Wales, who are often more reliant on cash than digital banking.

In recent years, Wales has experienced a rapid decline in the number of high street banking services available to the public.

Already in 2024, 23 high street bank closures have been announced in Wales, while automated teller machines (ATMs) declined by nearly a quarter between 2018 and 2023.

 Small businesses often rely on cash due to the costs involved in using credit card and mobile payments, which can undermine small profit margins.

Vulnerable groups also risk being left behind by the disappearance of cash and in-person services from their local communities.

Such groups could include people on lower incomes, those with physical or mental health disabilities, and those living in rural areas and older people.

 The Committee’s inquiry will examine how Wales is being affected by the loss of high street bank services, and whether the problem is worse in Wales than other parts of the UK.

Solutions

It will consider whether current regulations go far enough to ensure the population have access to banking services, and whether suggested solutions like banking hubs, banking vans and community banks provide an adequate replacement to bricks and mortar high street banks.

 Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee and MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Stephen Crabb, said: “As online banking grows in popularity, high street services are disappearing across Wales. But the many small businesses and vulnerable people reliant on cash risk being left behind by this change.

 “This has the potential to be a serious issue for Wales that could quickly spiral out of control. We must not sleepwalk into a situation where entrepreneurial micro-businesses or the already disadvantaged are locked out of the banking services on which we all rely. 

 “In this inquiry, we are particularly keen to hear from those likely to be directly affected by the shift away from cash and physical banks. I encourage anyone with first-hand experience of losing banking services to give evidence to the Committee.”

The Committee is inviting written submissions by May 8 2024.

These should focus on:

  • Which regions or communities are most affected by the loss of high street bank branches and access to cash?
  • Which social groups are most affected by high street bank branch closures?
  • What is the impact on customers and small businesses of losing access to high street banks?
  • Are the issues arising from bank branch closures more acute in Wales than in other parts of the UK?
  • Does the existing regulatory environment ensure that physical banking infrastructure is accessible to customers in Wales?
  • Are the current replacements for high street banks (includingbanking hubs, banking vans and community banks) adequate and do they provide communities with sufficient access to cash?

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
13 days ago

Don’t bother guys. The four banks near me have all picked up their ball, stomped off home and they ain’t coming back. Now I have a free bilingual cash point at the supermarket and a monolingual charging one in an old bank wall.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
13 days ago

We need new banks based in Wales – For a new economy based in Wales.

When is the Welsh government going to organise this ?
We need to do this collectively, just as most countries do in Europe.

Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
13 days ago

What became of Banc Cambria? There was a lot of hype. Now nothing?

Stephen Price
Admin
13 days ago
Reply to  Gaynor Jones

A quiet death but no one admitting so would be my personal take! This is the latest we’ve reported on it: https://nation.cymru/news/concerns-raised-about-labours-banc-cambria-manifesto-pledge/ – remains to be seen if Vaughan Gething dusts it back off…

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
13 days ago

It would help some if we had a bank of Wales…

Frank
Frank
13 days ago

Perhaps the MPs will realise that the people in Wales have not got enough spare cash to need the use of a bank. Maybe that’s why they are closing.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
13 days ago

What has happened to Banc Cambria? The Welsh Government was supposedly investigating the setting up of a mutual bank owned by it’s investors to address the lack of banking facilities in many areas of Wales.

Alun
Alun
13 days ago

A noble gesture but ultimately what is it going to achieve? The ‘high street’ banks don’t give two hoots about the committee unfortunately.

Surely there’s an opportunity for a Welsh bank, with branches to open in the main towns?

Richard
Richard
13 days ago

A bit late ⏰!!

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