Less than a year since Lloyds closed its branch in Llandovery the bank has today announced its intention to close its part-time branch in Llandeilo. Furthermore NatWest has also announced its intention to close its branches in Llandeilo and Ammanford - decisions to which political representatives have responded furiously.
The closure of the Lloyds Llandeilo branch, where the bank’s own figures state that 51% of its customers are over the age of 55, is proposed for 23rd May 2018. It follows a series of Lloyds branch closures during 2017 in Burry Port, Fishguard, Milford Haven, Swansea University and Pontypridd.
NatWest announced it intends closing its Ammanford branch on 24th May 2018 and Llandeilo branch on 18th June 2018.
Earlier this year Adam Price AM led a debate in the National Assembly where the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy confirmed he had commissioned work by the Public Policy Institute for Wales into establishing a Public Bank.
That work has been completed and published. Adam Price has called on the Welsh Government to bring forward its action plan “so that communities know what their government is doing to realise a genuine system of community banking.”
Jonathan Edwards MP has asked the Chief Executives of Lloyds and NatWest for a meeting to discuss the way in which the bank is abandoning rural communities.
Assembly Member Adam Price said:
“It’s groundhog day in rural Wales as more big banks decide to abandon more rural communities. This is a kick in the teeth to local residents who again face another loss of service. Residents are not only being failed by the banks, they’re being failed by both Welsh and British Governments which don’t stand up for consumers. We can’t go on like this.
“Earlier this year I obtained a commitment from the Welsh Government’s Economy Secretary that he would commission work on establishing a Public Bank in Wales. That report has been on his desk for more than two months. I want to see an action plan published so that communities know what their government is doing to realise a genuine system of community banking.
“As banking services get more and more remote, business investment and borrowing can start to decline. We urgently need a new model, such as those in Germany and the United States, which are purposely established to support communities, local businesses and local consumers.
“The decisions of commercial banks are regrettably out of our control. We can and will campaign with local residents, but we have no power to compel banks to keep a branch open. I promise, though, that Jonathan Edwards and I will do all we can to ensure the banking model of the future is rooted in our communities.”
Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards added:
“Quite frankly, Adam and I are fed up of being asked to comment on yet another bank closure only for Government Ministers in Cardiff and Westminster to seemingly wash their hands of the very real concerns communities have with the loss of their services.
“Bank closures are more profound than customers losing the counter service in the community - it fundamentally undermines the financial underpinning of the entire local economy. Meanwhile the Governor of the Bank of England has the cheek to tell us this week that leaving the European Union brings with it an opportunity to lift the cap on bankers’ bonuses!
“I have today written to the Chief Executives of Lloyds and NatWest banks requesting that they personally meet with Adam and me. We want to discuss why the banks are continually abandoning rural communities, and to tell them about the national campaign we are establishing for the creation of a Welsh Public Bank to compete with the banks which have treated customers with disdain.”