NEWCASTLE Emlyn was dealt a bitter blow today (Thursday, July 19) with the news that Lloyds Bank is to close its branch in the town.

The bank at Cawdor Terrace will close in January, following NatWest and HSBC which have already closed their doors in previous years.

Only Barclays remain in the town and that is open for only three days a week.

The announcement was greeted with dismay by Traders Association chairman Jill Sutton.

“This is bad news for the whole town. It will have a big effect on elderly people who like to physically go to the bank and may not be comfortable using the internet,” she said.

“It also spells bad news for businesses. Times are difficult enough on the high street in terms of retail without this news. People in London who are making these decisions have no notion of how small market towns operate in areas such as rural Wales.”

Another shopkeeper said: “There are around 60 businesses in the town that rely on the banks but there does not seem to be anything anyone can do about it.

“For them to say the branch is not busy is just ridiculous. There is a queue there every Friday after they have been closed on a Thursday and it’s the same on a Monday – they are out of the door.

“We will end up like Llandysul, which no longer has any banks.”

Barclays was the last bank to close in Llandysul at the end of last year, leading one local to call it a ‘ghost town’.

NatWest Bank recently closed its branch in Cardigan, sparking fears other could follow there.

A Lloyds Bank spokesperson said: “We have made the difficult decision to close the Lloyds Bank Newcastle Emlyn branch in January 2019 due to the changing ways customers choose to bank with us, which has resulted in the branch being used less often.

“We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and will be speaking to customers about the new mobile branch service, which will be on the road before the branch closes, as well as their nearest alternative branch, which is Cardigan.

“The new mobile branch service will provide a vital service to the Newcastle Emlyn area, by giving customers access to everyday banking services such as making deposits, withdrawing cash and paying bills.

“Customers can also continue to access their banking locally by visiting the nearby Post Office, which is a short distance from the branch.”