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Almost a quarter of bank branches in Wales have closed over 10 years – National Assembly Committee launches inquiry

02/05/2019

​Over 200 banks across Wales have closed since 2008, leaving some rural communities and towns such as Abersoch and Hay-on-Wye without a single bank branch.

Person withdrawing cash from an ATM

The National Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee has launched an inquiry looking at access to banking services across Wales. The Committee will be looking at the ways in which branch closures and access to free ATMs can affect local communities.

Russell George AM, chair of the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee said:

“Accessing face to face banking has become a real problem for many. There is obviously a concern that the situation could be having a negative impact on communities as well as local economies.

“We want to look more closely at the situation across the country and urge those affected to take part in our inquiry so we get a clear picture of how banking in Wales has changed."

Aberaeron is one of the many towns that has been affected and some local business owners say the impact has been significant. Angela Coles from Aberaeron Stores said:

“Our town will soon be left with no bank branches at all after the closure of Natwest, HSBC and soon Barclays. This isn’t adequate for anyone.

“Having no banks means we struggle if we run out of change and to do our banking we have to travel an hour round trip to our nearest bank. Travelling so far means we get home very late at night and we’re spending a lot on fuel every week.

“It’s very hard for everyone in the town but we’ve had to adapt.”

 



We want to hear from you

Be a part of the economy committee’s inquiry into access to banking in Wales.

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The Committee wants to hear the views of people in communities affected by bank closures and will also be taking evidence from expert witnesses who have carried out extensive research into the problem.

Ben Cottam, Head of External Affairs for the Federation of Small Businesses Wales added:

“The withdrawal of banking facilities is a real concern for businesses across Wales.

“There can’t be many communities in Wales which haven’t seen the loss of one or more banks in recent years and for businesses, this has meant the loss of banking relationship managers and financial expertise, the need to travel long distances to deposit sometimes significant sums of cash.

“Furthermore, we see the withdrawal of cash machines as banks close. For rural areas and tourist economies which are heavily dependent on case, this represents a significant problem for smaller businesses.

“I’d encourage small business owners to take a few minutes to share the many problems bank closures are causing for their business, to help provide evidence for the Committee to make recommendations for action.”

The Committee wants to hear the views of people in communities affected by bank closures and will also be taking evidence from expert witnesses who have carried out extensive research into the problem.

The Committee’s call for written evidence is open until 17 May. An online survey asking people for their experiences of accessing bank services will also run until the end of May.

 

Link to the access to banking survey 

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