THE LAMPETER branch of Lloyds Bank is closing on May 15, 2023 it has been announced.

The banking giants say they are responding to changes in customer habits and a ‘significant’ reduction in footfall at the branch.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake has criticised the decision, calling such closures in rural areas ‘all too common’.

He added that stripping communities of access to ‘vitally important services’ put people who cannot travel elsewhere in a difficult position.

"I am really disappointed to hear Lloyds’ announcement,” he said. “If this closure goes ahead then residents of Lampeter and the wider area will be left without a bank and the vitally important services that it offers to both individual customers and local businesses.

"I hope to meet with Lloyds in the near future to challenge the reasons for the decision, and to discuss what options they will be offering to my constituents who may not be able to travel elsewhere for banking services should the closure proceed.

“Unfortunately, bank closures, especially in more rural areas, have becoming all too common.

"The UK Government has long made promises to legislate to ensure access to cash and legislation is currently going through Parliament that would strengthen the law so as to protect community banking services.

“I am hoping this law will not be too late for Lampeter, but will continue to raise the issue of rural banking services with the Treasury to see what discussions they have with banks to ensure that we maintain these important services for those who need them."

Both Mr Lake and MS Elin Jones are backing calls for banking hubs to be rolled out in rural communities as they ‘would ensure that the cash needs of local communities are met’.

Ms Jones described the news as ‘a huge blow for residents, businesses, and local societies…particularly elderly and vulnerable customers who might find it hard to access viable alternatives’.

“Unfortunately, the number of bank branches and free-to-use ATMs in Ceredigion has been slashed in recent years, so it’s vital that new legislation protects free access to cash for the millions of people who rely on it,” she added.