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Sunday, February 2, 2014

AM challenges Barclays over future of branches

Plans by Barclays Bank to reduce the number of branches have been challenged by Plaid Cymru Assembly member Llyr Gruffydd.
The North Wales AM said it was vital that communities across the North were made aware of Barclays’ intentions to avoid the painful mistakes of other bank closures.
Mr Gruffydd said: “I have challenged Barclays bosses to come clean about their plans for our local branches. Their Welsh manager has refused to rule out closing branches, despite us seeking assurances.
“Many communities in the area have lost shops and other banks. In some cases we’ve seen bank customers shifted to from one closing branch to another, only for that one also to close. There has been a gradual centralisation of services away from our small towns to larger towns and the least customers and staff deserve from Barclays is transparency about their plans.
“We are told that customers can choose online banking, which ignores the poor broadband service in many parts of Wales and the fact that many people like to bank with people they know and trust. That personal touch is in danger of being lost by this centralising agenda.
“As thing stand, the bank is refusing to offer a timetable or specify which branches could close. But, of the 30 local branches listed,  I would fully expect a quarter to face the axe.”
Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru’s Clwyd South spokesperson, said: “Barclays have tried to row back from the original story which suggested that they were looking to close a quarter of their branches. However their clarification leaves an axe hanging above each of our branches, as they admit that there will be reductions. Llangollen and the Dee Valley has seen a number of services closed or downgraded over the last few years and our businesses can’t afford to lose vital banking services.
“Claiming that more people do on-line banking doesn’t wash here, because broadband provision is so poor. Also many people, especially the elderly, don’t have access to on-line banking services or don’t trust them. Customers tend to be loyal to their banks, so it would be nice to see that loyalty reciprocated.”
Barclays has a branch in Llangollen.

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