A HIGH Street bank will axe branches across North Wales in September.
Natwest plans to close the branches in Abergele, St Asaph, Denbigh, Corwen, Llangollen, Rhos on Sea and Blaenau Ffestiniog citing a reduction of more than a third in branch transactions since 2010.
Llyr Gruffydd, AM for North Wales, said: “This is yet another bank abandoning vast swathes of Wales, leaving customers and small businesses with lengthy journeys and inconvenience to the next nearest branch. It will make life incredibly difficult for small traders who need to bank at the end of a working day.
“NatWest is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group and is 80 per cent owned by the UK Government. The Government therefore has a duty to ensure that the bank it owns does not abandon many important towns and leave them without a bank in some cases. As is the case with pubs, there needs to be some kind of regulation to ensure that companies cannot just withdraw at will.”
Derek French, of the Campaign for Community Banking Services said: “The stepping up of branch closures, post election, is very bad news for communities who will suffer inconvenience but also loss of retail customers which could well lead to shop closures too in our experience.
“The last government began, belatedly, to address the problems but the banks are having a field day and it is up to local MPs to stress the urgency of the matter to the new Treasury and Business ministers before it is too late. Once closed there is no going back.”
A spokesman for Nat West said: "We are committed to following the UK Government protocol on branch closures, and we have made the decision following careful consideration of a wide range of factors including branch usage and the alternative ways our customers can bank with us locally.
"Our customers are increasingly using alternative ways to bank with them such as online and mobile banking.
"As a result, branch transactions have declined by around 36 per cent since 2010 whilst online and mobile transactions have grown by more than 300 per cent.
"Only 9 per cent of their total transactions are now undertaken in branches in comparison to 25 per cent in 2010.
"We are writing to all of our customers who use the branch, as well as displaying posters in branch to let them know of the closure. Between now and the closure date, we will engage with all of our customers, local businesses and the wider local community to make sure they are aware of the alternative ways of accessing their banking with us in the local area, and to answer any questions they might have."