Rhos's fury over closure of last bank


Charlie Croasdale

A DECISION to close the last remaining bank in a village has been met with anger from community leaders.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has decided to close the NatWest Rhos branch, blaming a 30 per cent decline in transactions since 2011.

The decision has been made without consultation with the Rhos community, a move which has angered Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones.

The proposals would see the branch close on September 1, with a new mobile branch van brought in to cover the community. A cash machine will be retained in the village, but RBS confirmed it would write to customers and publicise the branch closure.

Kevin Hughes, councillor for Ponciau on Wrexham Council and chairman of Rhos Community Council, said: “This is absolutely dreadful news for Rhos. The NatWest is the last bank serving North Wales’ largest village. The bank is used by many local people and businesses.

“It’s also a lifeline for many older residents who do not use internet banking. I urge local people to join me and others in campaigning to try and get the bank’s senior managers to see sense.”

Fellow Rhos councillor Paul Pemberton said he was “livid” about the closure, adding: “As far as I am aware there has been no consultation with the people of Rhos. We are the largest village in Wales and this is just another nail in the coffin.

“We’ve fought hard to save the library and The Stiwt and we’ll be fighting our corner on this one too. RBS is taxpayer-owned, yet they make this decision without consulting the public. It’s an outrage.” Ms Jones and Clwyd South AM Ken Skates have stated they will write formally to Royal Bank of Scotland, asking it to reverse the decision.

Ms Jones said: “We need to send hundreds of emails making it clear how we feel about what the bank are doing.

“I’m especially angry one cold, impersonal email sent from distant Edinburgh could mean the end of local banking in the Rhos area.”

Mr Skates said: “I will be writing to NatWest and asking them to reconsider closing the branch, which provides vital services used every day by many people in Rhos and from further afield.”

A spokesman for RBS said: “Since 2011 there has been a 30 per cent decline in transactions in the branch as more and more people use alternative ways of banking with us. Only 35 customers use the bank on a regular basis (weekly). More and more people are banking with us by phone, online, on our mobile app, in post offices and through our ATMs.

“Since 2010 branch transactions across our whole network have declined by about 30 per cent while online and mobile transactions have grown by more than 200 per cent.”

See full story in the Leader

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