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Monday, November 11, 2013

News of bank closure sparks angry backlash

Shock news earlier today that HSBC plans to close its Llangollen branch next year has brought an angry backlash from a key local campaigner and politicians from all parties.

Martin Crumpton, chair of Keep Llangollen Special (KLS), stormed: “Costume Jewel in the Crown? Llangollen has now been downgraded by the actions of granting planning to Sainsbury’s and the closure of the Cottage Hospital.

“Big Business now sees us as a soft target – but we’re not.
“KLS has already proved it fights hard, and this challenge is no different. We can abandon HSBC just as readily as they can abandon us.
“The nearest HSBC will now be over 20 miles away, since it closed its Corwen branch, and Llangollen has a significant proportion of residents can’t use Internet banking.
“It is another shameful, heartless act by faceless bankers who only pay lip service to social responsibility.
"DEFRA has already received a complaint from KLS, and many more influential people are on the list.

“We call on our councillors at all levels to join and support our campaign, and to sign the online petition:
Mark Isherwood, Conservative Assembly Member for North Wales, said:  “HSBC says that it is closing three of its North Wales branches, including Llangollen, because internet banking has caused customer usage to fall `dramatically’, but since when has internet banking provided the face-to-face service on which good business and real local customer care are based – and since when has it provided the services needed by visitors to these major tourist destinations?

“I will be asking HSBC to rethink this decision.”
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said: “It’s just over a year since HSBC closed its Corwen branch and moved customers from there to Llangollen. Now they’re proposing to close the Llangollen branch, despite the large numbers of local businesses that rely on the bank for a service.

“It seems ironic that the bank that prides itself on being ‘the world’s local bank’ is becoming more and more remote from customers in this part of Wales.
“Where do customers from Corwen and Llangollen go now for their banking if they stay with HSBC and what guarantee do they have that that branch is safe?

“This short-term approach to its core customer base seems a very strange way to do business.”

A HSBC spokesperson said: "We need to ensure that our branches are in the right locations for our customers and on occasions this means that we need to close a branch where customer footfall has fallen dramatically or there has been a shift in customer shopping patterns."

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