Mid Wales

HSBC to shut small rural branch in Presteigne

A small HSBC branch in Powys is to close, leaving a town with just one bank.

Presteigne mayor John Kendall said the decision to shut the bank on 9 March would have a serious impact.

HSBC said its branch in the town was one of the least profitable and there had been a decline in customers.

The firm closed six branches in Wales between September and December last year, including Llandysul, Ceredigion, and Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, Powys.

It has now shut 17 "under-used" banks in Wales since 2009, but they have not all been in rural areas.

More than 500 people have signed a petition against the closure of the Presteigne branch.

Mr Kendall, Brecon and Radnorshire AM Kirsty Williams, county councillor Garry Banks and chamber of commerce chair Rosamund Black met officials from the bank recently.

"We were told the bank would close on 9 March and the decision was 'irreversible'," Mr Kendall said.

"The decision by HSBC will have a serious impact on the town.

"People who don't have access to internet banking will suffer, and I understand a number of businesses have decided to switch their accounts to the other bank in the town run by Lloyds TSB."

HSBC is planning to site a new cash machine in the town, which has a population of around 2,400.

A company spokesman said: "The branch (in Presteigne) is only currently open 18 hours per week, but customer usage of the branch has fallen significantly over the past few years and it is now one of the most under used branches in the country."

The two members of staff in Presteigne will transfer to other local branches.

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