NatWest bank closures in five towns slammed by customers and politicians

Reporter:

James Wilde

Politicians have rounded on banking giant NatWest after it announced multiple branch closures.

Branches in Holyhead, Menai Bridge, Amlwch, Caernarfon and Porthmadog will all close by June 2017.

Ynys Môn AM Rhun Ap Iorwerth said of the decision, which leaves just one NatWest branch remaining on Anglesey: “Let’s be clear – this is about maximising profits.

“Has footfall at these banks fallen? Yes. Are the banks still making money? Yes.

“I’m angry and I feel the people of Anglesey are being let down – by NatWest and the wider banking sector.

“Banks have been ripped out of our towns at an astounding rate which shows no regard for the people who have helped banks make huge profits.

“The HSBC decision to close its Amlwch branch was the other recent blow.

“Beaumaris recently lost the last of its banks following successive closures and now Menai Bridge is to face the same fate.”

Mr ap Iorwerth, who has requested a meeting with NatWest bosses, said the Government should do more to keep banking branches open.

He said:“Banks should find a way to work together to continue to provide an adequate level of service and Government should take whatever steps are necessary to protect services.”

Arfon MP Hywel Williams accused NatWest of depriving Caernarfon residents and abandoning loyal customers.

He said: “Banking is one of the most basic and important services that people rely on.

“It’s not good enough for the bank to advise that all customers should move on to online banking because we all know that not everybody has access to a reliable internet connection, particularly in rural areas like parts of Arfon.

“At a time when Caernarfon is expanding, this decision makes little sense whatsoever.

“I have called for an urgent meeting with NatWest to discuss this short-sighted decision.”

Ynys Môn MP Albert Owen, who has been very vocal about banking across the island, described the situation as “appalling.”

Mr Owen said: “It’s a phased and planned process by NatWest of withdrawing from the local communities that rely so heavily on their vital services.

“I challenge NatWest to work with the local communities of Amlwch, Menai Bridge and Holyhead – to stand by them at this difficult time and to provide direct help with regeneration and social cohesion rather than simply becoming part of the problem that has led to the sad decline of our town centres.

“I will continue to communicate with NatWest on this matter, and I have already expressed my frank dissatisfaction about this announcement.”

The closure dates are: Porthmadog, May 30, 2017; Holyhead June 20; Menai Bridge June 22; Caernarfon June 26; and Amlwch June 29.

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