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Local representatives hit out at Lloyds’ decision to close Lampeter branch

LLOYDS Banking Group has confirmed the closure of its Lampeter branch on May, 2023. The banking giant says it is responding to changes in customer habits and a significant reduction in footfall at the branch.

Ceredigion MP, Ben Lake has criticised the decision, calling such closures in rural areas “all too common”. He said stripping communities of access to “vitally important services” puts people who cannot travel elsewhere in a difficult position.

Ben Lake MP and Elin Jones MS have said they are seeking an urgent meeting with the bank to discuss its reasoning for the closure and the options available for residents who will “no longer have a bank open to local people”.

The local representatives are also backing calls for banking hubs to be rolled out in rural communities as they “would ensure that the cash needs of local communities are met”.

A banking hub is a shared service that operates in a similar way to a standard branch, with a counter service run by Post Office staff where customers of almost any bank can withdraw and deposit cash, make bill payments and carry out regular transactions.

Ben Lake MP said: “I am really disappointed to hear Lloyds’ announcement. If this closure goes ahead then residents of Lampeter and the wider area will be left without a bank and the vitally important services that it offers to both individual customers and local businesses.

“I hope to meet with Lloyds in the near future to challenge the reasons for the decision, and to discuss what options they will be offering to my constituents who may not be able to travel elsewhere for banking services should the closure proceed. Unfortunately bank closures, especially in more rural areas, have become all too common.

“The UK Government has long made promises to legislate to ensure access to cash, and legislation is currently going through Parliament that would strengthen the law so as to protect community banking services.

I am hoping this law will not be too late for Lampeter, but will continue to raise the issue of rural banking services with the Treasury to see what discussions they have with banks to ensure that we maintain these important services for those who need them.”

Elin Jones MS said: “This is a huge blow for residents, businesses, and local societies in Lampeter who bank with them, particularly elderly and vulnerable customers who might find it hard to access viable alternatives.

“I have long championed the importance in maintaining a vibrant local economy of essential local services in all our rural market towns, including banking and cash handling for businesses and individuals alike.

“Unfortunately, the number of bank branches and free-to-use ATMs in Ceredigion has been slashed in recent years, so it’s vital that new legislation protects free access to cash for the millions of people who rely on it.

“The establishment of banking hubs in Ceredigion could bring life back to our high streets and crucially would ensure that the cash needs of local communities are met.”

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