Shropshire Star

Bid to save two Mid Wales banks proves a non-starter

Pleas to keep under-threat banks in two Mid Wales towns open have fallen on deaf ears.


HSBC officials have refused to reverse a decision to close its branches in Llanfyllin and Llanfair Caereinion in the new year.

It comes despite a final plea made by politicians and councillors who fear the closures will have a "devastating effect" on the towns and surrounding villages.

Talks have been held in Llanfyllin between HSBC managers, AM Russell George, MP Glyn Davies, Llanfyllin county councillor Peter Lewis and town mayor Ann Williams to discuss ways to keep some form of bank service in the town.

But Mr George said the discussions had not gone as well as they had hoped.

HSBC plans to close the two branches on February 12. The bank will also shut its branches in Whitchurch, Market Drayton and Harlescott in Shrewsbury in January.

It comes after Natwest shut its branch in Ellesmere last month despite huge public opposition.

Mr George said: "During the meeting with HSBC's senior management, I presented results from my recent residents' survey which showed overwhelming support for the retention of both branches in Llanfyllin and Llanfair Caereinion.

"In spite of our calls for them to reconsider, they were not willing to reverse their decision and keep these branches open. However, they informed us that customers will be able to access their accounts at the local Post Office in both Llanfyllin and Llanfair Caereinion.

"During the meeting, both Councillor Lewis and Councillor Williams were strong advocates for the people of Llanfyllin and I'm pleased that we have such dedicated councillors to fight for our local community."

Councillor Lewis said: "The closure of banks is having a devastating effect on our villages with the elderly and disabled the most disadvantaged.

"There are still significant issues with the quality and reliability of mobile and broadband signals in this part of Montgomeryshire so mobile banking doesn't always replace permanent over the counter facilities.

"Not only does a bank closure lead to increased distance and travel time to nearby branches, but many retail businesses say local spend follows banks to larger communities."

Sandy George, HSBC branch manager in Welshpool, has said she would be happy for any customer who has questions to call her directly on 03455 846 022.

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