4th July 2016 - ‘Banks must act to stop vulnerable customers being left out’ says Islwyn MP
The MP for Islwyn, Chris Evans, has called on banks to adapt and boost their customer service to stop vulnerable customers being excluded from finance at a debate in Parliament over bank branch closures.
His remarks were made just a day after Lloyds Bank announced they plan to close their Newbridge branch – the last bank in the town – on 11th October this year. In an email sent to Mr Evans, they cite falling demand and say customer accounts will be moved over two miles away to their Blackwood branch.
Speaking at a backbench business debate, the Islwyn MP raised concern that as more bank branches close, more vulnerable and elderly people as well as businesses could be seriously affected. He called on banks to adapt to changes in banking habits and commit to switching their customer service model to one where banks travel to their customers.
The announcement of the planned closure of Lloyds Bank in Newbridge comes just a month after HSBC in Risca closed its doors for the last time in early June. The MP set up a petition against the closure which attracted hundreds of signatures.
Mr Evans said: ‘As more bank branches close in my constituency and across the country, more people face the prospect of not having a local bank. While so many people use online and telephone banking, this is simply not an option for many.
‘If bank branches have become commercially unsustainable and will continue to close, as trends across the country suggest, then banks will have to think of ways to adapt to ensure nobody gets left behind.
‘They must also commit to producing open and transparent community impact assessments when they plan to close branches, and ensure they liaise with community representatives and stakeholders to ensure that all views are taken into account.’
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