BARCLAYS has been accused of “abandoning” and “airbrushing” Gwynedd communities as they announced they will close the branch in Dolgellau this year.

The move comes after banking rival Lloyds recently announced the closure of their banks in Holyhead and Pwllheli, leaving the popular Meirionnydd market town with just one bank remaining.

Located on Llys Owain, the branch is set to close on Thursday, 27 October, with Barclays saying they had seen a 48 per cent reduction in transactions at the branch since the pandemic started.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “The decision to close a branch is never an easy one.

“However, customers are increasingly using alternatives to branches to do their banking. As a result, we are seeing a sustained fall in branch visits across the UK.

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“This is reflected at the Dolgellau branch where there has been a 48 per cent reduction in counter transactions in the two years to March 2020.

“In addition, 81 per cent of our Dolgellau customers are also using different ways to bank.”

In a letter to politicians Liz Saville Roberts MP and Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, Barclays advised customers to use alternative branches – the nearest being Aberystwyth (a distance of 34 miles) and Pwllheli (a distance of 38 miles).

The closure comes three years since Barclays axed their Tywyn branch, leaving the town without any banks.

Mrs Saville Roberts and Mr ap Gwynfor said: “We are bitterly disappointed that Barclays are closing yet another bank in Dwyfor Meirionnydd, coming only a week after Lloyds announced the closure of their Pwllheli branch and three years since they abandoned Tywyn - leaving the town with not a single bank.

“This is just the latest round of bank closures to hit communities in Wales and it seems rural areas in particular are bearing the brunt of the removal of face-to-face high street banking.

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“Dwyfor Meirionnydd is effectively being airbrushed by these banking giants who have abandoned their social responsibility to loyal customers.

“Dolgellau is a large, market town serving a dispersed rural population who rely on Barclays for both personal and business transactions.

“It simply doesn’t wash for banks to continually perpetuate the myth that all customers should move onto on-line banking because we all know that not everybody has access to a reliable internet connection and some elderly people are reluctant to use e-banking, yet they obviously still need access to services.

“We urge Barclays to think again but since they are more than likely to push ahead with this closure, they must fully-comply with guidelines put forward by the British Banking Association.

“This calls on banks to ensure adequate measures are in place to mitigate impacts of branch closures such as providing access to ATMs - the three currently available in Dolgellau are completely insufficient for such as sizable town.”

'If these banking giants are intent on abandoning our communities the very least they can do is provide their loyal customers with convenient, alternative banking arrangements.’