NatWest chiefs challenged by AM over decision to close regional branches

Reporter:

James Wilde

AN Assembly Member has met with senior NatWest managers to challenge their decision to close three of the bank’s branches.

NatWest announced last week it would shut banks in Amlwch, Holyhead and Menai Bridge – along with branches in Caernarfon and Porthmadog – by June 2017, blaming declining branch transactions.

Ynys Mon AM Rhun Ap Iorwerth claimed the decision was “about maximising profits” and the people of Anglesey were “being let down by NatWest and the wider banking sector.”

Mr Iorwerth said after the meeting: “I asked, of course, for the bank to reconsider, but it is clear that mitigation will be the only considerations now, including the creation of new post of community banker on Anglesey and visits by mobile branches.”

A community banker would attend places such as libraries, Rotary and sports clubs where they would conduct financial ‘health checks’ and give customers advice.

Despite Mr Iorwerth said such alternative arrangements were not enough.

He said: “Action must be taken somehow, by the Government and the industry itself, to protect financial services in places like Anglesey. We are rapidly losing them.

“I argued that they should conduct full assessments of the likely impact of branch closures before considering doing so – not after decisions are made.”

Mr Iorwerth also sought assurances about levels of services following the decision to close the Menai Bridge cashpoint, which leaves no other 24-hour cash withdrawal facility in the town centre.

“They agreed in revisit the decision to close the Menai Bridge cashpoint.” the Assembly Member said.

Guarantees were also give to Mr Iorwerth about staff welfare.

He said: “I feel for hardworking NatWest staff on Anglesey.

“I was assured that they hoped that there would be no compulsory redundancies.” 

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