The Montgomeryshire AM, Russell George, has reacted with disappointment at the news that the only remaining bank in Machynlleth is to close.
In the latest in a long line of high street branch closures in Powys, Barclays has announced that it intends to close its branch in Machynlleth on the 21st September 2018.
As a result, Barclays customers will be expected to travel half an hour and over 12 miles to Tywyn to use the nearest Barclays branch or use the local Post Office for transactions such as paying in cheques or depositing cash.
Responding to the disappointing news, Mr George said:
“This is the latest in a long line of high street branch closures across Montgomeryshire which is very disappointing.
"I'm disappointed at Barclays' decision to close its branch in Machynlleth, especially as this will mean that the town will now be without any bank. This decision quickly follows their decision to close the only remaining high street bank in Llanidloes.
"Unilateral decisions like these only confirm that these giant banking groups have little regard for communities in Mid Wales who rely on their services.
“Carwyn Jones, the First Minister, has previously joined me in recognising the serious situation which communities face when it comes to the loss of their high street banking services and I will be looking for him to take a lead in facilitating a discussion with the banks, the regulators and other partners to explore a new community banking model which would see banks share premises and services rather than close their doors for good."
Machynlleth County Councillor Michael Williams added:
"The Post Office should be congratulated for filling the gap left by high street banks such as Barclays and while it is unable to offer all of the services which a bank provides, the Post Office offers more services than people realise from processing bill payments, ordering foreign currency and even dealing with personal and business banking transactions of virtually all banks.
"It is clear when speaking to local people that while the transfer of banking services to the Post Office or mobile and online banking works for some people, it doesn’t always replace permanent over the counter facilities at the bank, especially for businesses or those residents who are elderly or disabled.
"I am grateful to Russell who led and chaired a meeting in Machynlleth when Natwest decided to close its Bank, and Russell will be once again calling for the Welsh Government to take a lead in finding an adequate alternative solution to prevent banks simply leaving our communities in the lurch."
Llanbrynmair County Councillor, Diane Jones-Poston said:
"This decision is devastating for rural communities. People living in Llanbrynmair who already have to travel large distances will now have even further to travel. There are a number of older and vulnerable people who will be disadvantaged, and we don’t have good public transport to get to towns like Tywyn.
"I shall be raising a number of issues with the bank, such as the shortage of an ATM within the town."