Wales

Petition launched over HSBC branch closure in Llandysul

A campaign has started to prevent the closure of a rural branch of HSBC in Ceredigion.

The banking group said its Llandysul branch was no longer viable, but closing it was a last resort.

HSBC also plans to shut in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in north Powys and Pontycymer near Bridgend.

Campaigners in Llandysul, which also lost a branch of Lloyds TSB a few months ago, have launched a petition.

HSBC has closed 11 "under-used" branches in Wales since 2009, but they have not all been in rural areas.

Earlier this month, the bank revealed it was closing in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, near Llanfyllin.

HSBC said the branches earmarked for closure in Wales shared a common issue of "falling customer usage".

A spokesman said: "We have £100m to spend on updating and improving our network each year and, if we can invest in branches to increase footfall, we will.

"Branch closures are an absolute last resort."

HSBC said there would be no redundancies, and branch staff would be absorbed back into the company.

Businessman, Llandysul resident and Ceredigion council leader Keith Evans said the decision was disappointing.

"I've held a business account at the HSBC branch in Llandysul for the last 40 years, and I'm disappointed we're losing our local branch," he said.

"It's not just people in Llandysul who will suffer, it's people from the surrounding areas as well."

Post office closures

Mr Evans said he understood the logic behind HSBC's decision, adding that customers were increasingly using electronic means to access their bank accounts which had an impact on high street branches.

"We lost a branch of Lloyds a few months ago and many of their customers transferred to HSBC because they had a presence in the town and now they're going," Mr Evans added.

"I think this is part of a wider problem of a decline in rural services, which has included things like post office closures in recent years."

Mr Evans said Llandysul still had branches of Barclays and NatWest, and urged local people to support them.

Ceredigion MP Mark Williams has also voiced concern about the closure of HSBC in Llandysul.

* HSBC said originally that Sketty in Swansea would also be closing but a spokesman said that this was not the case.

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