THE huge impact of the closure of bank branches particularly in rural areas has been spelled out in a survey conducted by the Welsh Assembly.

The Senedd’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills committee’s Access to Banking survey has highlighted the problems being faced by both businesses and individual customers alike.

Among the survey’s results:

  • 87 per cent of respondents said they have been impacted by bank branch closures
  • 36 per cent reported that branch closures had increased their banking journey time by 30 minutes
  • 40 per cent said that regular access to a mobile bank branch would help but was not the answer, with 71 per cent either very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with the mobile service offered
  • 59 per cent said that branch closures had led to empty/deteriorating buildings on the high street
  • 29 per cent said it now takes up to an additional 60 minutes to access a bank branch

The highest percentage of respondents came from rural counties, including Pembrokeshire (nine per cent).

One respondent said: “Mobile banking can only accept cheque deposits up to £300 so when I get paid I have to take time off to drive to the nearest large town as Narberth has closed.”

Narberth, alongside many Pembrokeshire towns, has lost banks over the last few years, and now has none.

Narberth lost its last branch earlier this year, and Tenby, Pembroke and Milford Haven have all seen recent closures.

In response to the survey, Gareth Shaw, Which? head of money, said: “People across Wales are being forced to travel long distances just to access vital banking services and cash due to the double blow of bank branch and cashpoint closures.

“The UK and Welsh government must explore all options for protecting cash - including legislation - for as long as this payment method is needed.”

Results on the Access to Banking by the Welsh Assembly's Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee are available at