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Print Posted by RCT Business Hub on 01/13/2017

The four issues Lloyds Bank need to consider before closing their Mountain Ash branch

The four issues Lloyds Bank need to consider before closing their Mountain Ash branch

The Cynon Valley's Assembly Member has raised four main points of concern to Lloyds over its plan to close Mountain Ash's last bank.


From transport issues for customers to the impact on traders, the future of the branch premises and the fact assurances were made that it would not close, Vikki Howells has quizzed senior Lloyds executives over the issue.

Here's what she said following a meeting with bank bosses:


1) Transport to the next-nearest branch in Aberdare

"Firstly, I emphasised the impact of closing this branch on a community where car ownership and family income is below the national average, and which is also home to a higher than average number of older people.

"Lloyds have offered support to get people using online banking, but this is something many customers, even if they have access to the Internet, may not want to do.

"In addition, many customers who travel from surrounding areas to the Mountain Ash branch already need to catch a bus - having to travel to the Aberdare branch would substantially increase their journey time and costs, and may require them to catch two buses."

2) The impact on traders in Mountain Ash

"Secondly, I raised the impact of the closure on local traders - Lloyds does not allow its business customers to access banking services in the Post Office, so I pointed out that this closure is driving their business customers into the arms of other banks.

"What is startling about this omission is that the email from Lloyds informing me of the branch closure proudly boasted about Post Office banking as an alternative.

"It is a shame loyal local business customers have obviously been forgotten."


3) The future of the Commercial Street premises

"Thirdly, I also sought assurances on the future of the premises the branch is based in.

"The building is in a prominent site on a route into Mountain Ash, and its disuse would be a cause for concern.

"Unfortunately, Lloyds weren’t able to give any commitment on this point, but it is something I will keep a watchful eye on."

Vikki Howells, Cynon Valley AM


4) Assurances the branch wouldn't close

"Fourthly, Lloyds had promised the branch was not scheduled for closure when they reduced opening hours 18 months ago, and reiterated this in their discussions with Councillor Andrew Morgan again just three months ago.

"I pointed out to the executives this was unacceptable and could harm the reputation of the bank, and they did agree they should have worded the previously given commitments to retain services differently."

The closure plan

This month, Lloyds announced the Commercial Street branch - the last high street bank serving Mountain Ash after Barclays left the town in March 2015 - will close on March 29, 2017.

It said the branch has seen a 19% decrease in customers in the past year and only has 45 regular weekly personal and business customers.

The closure follows assurances made in August to Mountain Ash councillors Andrew Morgan - leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf council - and Pauline Jarman, leader of the opposition Plaid Cymru group on the council, that the branch wasn't being considered for closure.

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