An AM and MP are seeking urgent talks with Barclays bosses amid growing fears that the last remaining bank in their constituency could close.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates contacted the company after it confirmed opening hours in Llangollen will be cut to three days a week, sparking fresh concerns about its future.
“I am now seeking urgent talks with the company, as I’m seriously concerned that this is a step towards closing the last remaining bank in Clwyd South,” said Mr Skates.
MP Ms Jones said she was ‘extremely disappointed’ by the company’s response after she wrote urging a re-think. She added: “Barclays has blamed a decline in customer usage for the reduced hours and has failed to offer the reassurances we want about the Llangollen branch’s long-term future.”
Fourteen months ago Mr Skates, who is based in Llangollen, asked for – and received – assurances from Barclays that the Llangollen branch was safe ‘for the immediate future’ and encouraged constituents to use the branch as often as they could to keep footfall up.
But Barclays’ head of corporate relations in Wales, Jonathan Brenchley, said in letters to Mr Skates and Ms Jones that he was unable to provide a new commitment about Llangollen, further citing evolving customer behaviour such as the increase in online banking.
Town councillor and former mayor Bob Lube said people in the town had been ‘betrayed’. He added: “It’s all well and good them saying people can still bank online, but a lot of people – especially older people – can’t or won’t. There’s no replacement for face-to-face service.”
County councillor Graham Timms, director of Llangollen Fringe Festival, added: “There would be uproar if Barclays decided to close. A lot of people and local organisations switched to Barclays after HSBC and NatWest abandoned their customers here, the festival being one. This would be a slap in the face.”
The past few years have seen banks shut in nearby Brymbo, Cefn Mawr, Chirk, Corwen, Rhos and Ruabon, as well as the closures of the HSBC and NatWest branches in Llangollen.