Updated 28th September 2022
Whilst we appreciate that more people use online banking than previously, a substantial number of local people rely on high street banks to organise their lives and run their businesses.
Over recent years, many high street banks have closed their doors in towns across Montgomeryshire and in 2022, further bank branches have closed.
This is why, along with MP, Craig Williams, we are campaigning for a dramatic improvement in banking services on our High Streets. Good progress is being made with proposals of a banking hub in Welshpool, and potentially further branches being opened via a community banking model in other towns.
Following announcements of closures in 2022, I, along with my colleague Craig Williams MP, ran a survey, to help us present the case for further banking services to be developed.
Survey responses highlighted concerns about:
- How people and businesses will pay in cash and arrange outgoing payments.
- The impact on main town High Streets.
- The lack of consultation with local people from banks when they do announce closures.
Welshpool’s branch closures triggered a review by LINK - the UK’s Cash Access and ATM network, which assesses the impact of branch closures and identifies where new shared facilities are needed. This forms part of legislation introduced by the UK Government in the 2022 Queen's Speech, in protecting communities’ ‘access to cash’.
I am pleased that LINK have subsequently recommended that a new permanent banking hub be opened in Welshpool, offering shared banking access and services. Along with Craig, I met up with LINK to discuss how this will be implemented and to ensure that full banking services will be accessible to customers of all banks within this hub. Craig and I are actively supporting this new hub and our hope is that LINK will consider opening further hubs across Montgomeryshire’s larger towns.
During my time as Chairman of the Senedd Economy Committee, we undertook a report titled ‘Access to Banking’. Following our inquiry, plans for a Community Bank for Wales are now progressing and I hope that branches could fill some of the void left in other towns, such as Llanidloes, Machynlleth and Welshpool . I am continuing to engage with this organisation and the Welsh Government to encourage them to open facilities here in Mid Wales.