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Bank apologises after refusing account over Welsh documents

Catrin Hedges was denied a Lloyds student account at a branch in Swansea Credit: PA

Bank chiefs have apologised to a young woman after they refused to let her open a bank account, because her forms were written in Welsh.

19-year-old Catrin Hedges was told to "get a copy in English" after trying to open a Lloyds student account with her official acceptance letter in Welsh from Bangor University.

Staff at the branch in Swansea claimed it was company policy to reject documents not written in English - but the bank now says it was an "error".

Miss Hedges' father Mike - a member of the Welsh Assembly - called it "completely unacceptable."

The Labour AM said:

If it was just a matter of not having a Welsh speaking member of staff in branch that day, or having to send it off and taking a few days, I would have understood no problem.

But not being prepared to accept the document in any way is wrong.

– Mike Hedges AM, Labour, Swansea East

In a response on Twitter to Mike Hedges AM, Lloyds bank apologised in Welsh for the mistake. The bank also confirmed they do accept Ucas offers in the Welsh language and will make employees 'aware of the correct guidelines'.

Lloyds bank apologised in welsh to Mike Hedges AM Credit: Twitter

David Williams, from Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said:

The incident is further evidence of the need to extend language rights to the rest of the private sector, including the banks.

The bank's behaviour is totally unacceptable.

– Cymdeithas yr Iaith, David Williams

A spokesman for Lloyds Bank said:

We apologise for our error in this matter.

We do recognise Ucas offers in the Welsh language and have many customer-facing colleagues who are Welsh speaking.

– Lloyds Bank spokesman