Fears have been expressed that the Vale of Clwyd is becoming a bank-free zone after Barclays announced the closure of its branches in Ruthin and Denbigh.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, is based in Ruthin and has campaigned against the relentless tide of bank closures in the region over the past few years. The two Vale of Clwyd market towns now only have one bank apiece – the HSBC.
Mr Gruffydd said, “The Vale of Clwyd, which is home to thousands of people as well as a busy place in terms of industry, shopping and farming, still needs its high street banks for key services. Businesses need convenient specialist services and to cash-up and customers still need to bank cheques and have that personal service for advice. Banks are increasingly only interested in servicing wealthy customers and are abandoning areas such as north Wales.
“In terms of the town centres, these closures will inevitably have an impact on footfall as fewer people will feel the need to come to town centre to use the bank. What are the implications for other town-centre businesses?
“As the banks abandon our towns, we urgently need to develop a people’s bank for Wales that will provide the support that small businesses and customers need.”
Councillor Rhys Thomas, who represents the Lower Denbigh Ward, said, “With a newly opened retail park bringing more people into Denbigh and with community groups such as the Denbigh Business Group, Denbigh in Bloom and the Denbigh Plum Festival committee continuing to publicise the town and bringing in more visitors, it is disappointing that a bank such as Barclays cannot show any commitment to our local communities. Nat West has already abandoned the town and now Barclays is also abandoning us. Plaid Cymru will always fight to get these rich, international banks to face up to the hardship they can cause to those who still value visiting their local bank branches.”
Cllr Emrys Wynne, who represents Ruthin, said, “The impact of the closure of Barclays Bank on the community in Ruthin will be immense. Not only will a well-used facility for local businesses and private customers be lost, we will have yet another prominent empty building in the centre of the town.
Barclays Bank Customers will undoubtedly be advised that banking facilities will be available elsewhere in town. This will help customers who may wish to make deposits withdraw cash or pay bills, but will be of little use to the people who wish to discuss wider banking issues in private.
The need for forward thinking is now paramount. The Government should be actively seeking to establish a National Bank that will provide full banking services for Welsh Communities across Wales.”