A public meeting was held in Ystradgynlais last Friday to discuss the future of banking in the town after its last bank, Lloyds, decided it will be closing its branch in the town.
The meeting was organised by Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Member for Mid & West Wales Jane Dodds and attended by over 50 people including Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate David Chadwick, County Councillor for Aber-craf and Ystradgynlais Huw Williams and town councillors.
Representatives from Lloyds were invited to attend but chose not to turn up.
Bank closures have become a familiar sight across Powys in the last decade, but concerns have been raised that it is no longer only affecting small villages and towns but spreading to the County’s largest settlements. Ystradgynlais is the second largest town in Powys with a population of over 8,000 people. The largest town, Newtown in the north of the County with a population of 12,000 still has four in-person banks currently.
Community members at the meeting said that they want to fight the closure and that they were angry Lloyds had not bothered to send a representative to the meeting.
Some residents said despite banking with Lloyds for a number of years in the town, they hadn’t even received a formal notice the branch is set to close.
Jane Dodds, County Councillor Huw Williams and the Town Council agreed at the end of the meeting to work together to coordinate further action.
Commenting on the meeting Welsh Lib Dem Senedd Member Jane Dodds said:
“There is a clear desire in the community to fight this closure and I will continue to use my voice to do so.
“Access to cash and in-person banking is still essential, especially in rural areas like Powys with a large elderly population and poor internet access.
“The way big banks are treating customers is a disgrace, they make billions of pounds a year in profits. This isn’t about financial viability, it's pure greed at the expense of loyal customers.”
Lib Dem General Election Candidate for Brecon & Radnorshire David Chadwick added:
“This meeting showed the anger in our communities that big companies believe they can repay loyal customers with contempt.
“I felt it was particularly poor that Lloyds didn’t even bother to show up to the meeting and engage with the community.
“The Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for years to place stronger minimum service requirements on big banks, sadly this has been opposed by our Conservative Government who are more interested in protecting greed in the City of London than supporting thriving local communities in Mid Wales.
“If I were the MP for Brecon and Radnorshire I would continue to use my voice in Westminster to stand up for our local high streets.”