'Urgent action' needed to stop bank closures across Wales

A group of AMs says urgent action's needed to stop the rising number of bank closures.

The National Assembly's Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee says, in the four years to last Summer, Wales lost more than four out of ten branches. That's almost 240.

Research shows the number of free-to-use ATMs in Wales fell by 10% (2,517 to 2,281) between March 2018 and March 2019

The use of on-line backing is rising but the Committee says that is not an option for some sections of the population. It says more than half of over 75s in Wales are not regular internet users. In some areas there is also a bad internet service.

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The Committee is recommending that the Welsh Government urgently map out banking services and ATMs to assess the real impact these closures are having on people, especially vulnerable people, elderly people, small businesses and those who rely on cash.

Time and time again we are hearing about an alarming escalation of bank closures and the loss of cash machines across Wales. This is not a new problem but it recent years the losses are hitting communities hard.

Russel George AM, Chair, Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

We will consider this report carefully. We have been vocal in our calls for commercial banks to maintain a strong presence on Welsh high streets, although banking regulation ultimately rests with the UK Government and it has the power to regulate the industry to ensure these vital services are available to local businesses, customers and communities.

Welsh Government spokesperson