REGIONAL AM Suzy Davies is campaigning for Porthcawl to be added to the rota for weekly visits by the Nat West mobile branch in the wake of branch closures.
Welsh Conservative Mrs Davies met bank chiefs to urge them to reverse their decision to close branches in Porthcawl, Maesteg and Pencoed.
Despite many objections, the bank’s representatives made it plain the closures were going ahead. She was also shocked to learn that they had no plans to bring a mobile branch to Porthcawl although Maesteg and Pencoed will get visits.
She said: “Although people who are comfortable with online banking won’t feel the pain of these closures, those of us who find the whole process confusing or who prefer to see a human being when we’re talking finance, will not find these decisions easy to handle. With all the main banks looking to close branches, it’s not the strongest of arguments for NatWest to say that people can bank elsewhere. Porthcawl and Maesteg lost their HSBC branches not so long ago.
“It’s a consolation prize that Maesteg and Pencoed will be getting a weekly mobile service. But on current plans, Porthcawl will not. If, as Nat West claims, they want to maintain a local service for existing customers, then the least they can do is have a mobile branch visit Porthcawl too.”
She added: “The bank is currently sorting out a timetable for the mobile bank and seeking suitable locations in Maesteg and Pencoed where they can make their satellite connections. Hopefully, Porthcawl will now be added to that list.
“There is, fortunately, welcome news on post offices. The UK Government has announced £370m for rural post offices and for modernising services and technology across the UK.
“Nat West intends to transfer extra work to local post offices in each of these towns but they already experience long queues so their decision will exacerbate the problem. It is to be hoped that post offices will now see what help is on offer from the government.
“Nat West has also promised that once its branches have closed, it will work with the Post Office to assess the situation and pay for upgrades like extra service windows, extra pin pads and other facilities.
“I am determined that Nat West will not disappear into the wide blue wonder once these branches have closed next summer and they will be held to account to keep their promises and provide the mobile services and extra facilities necessary in those post offices whose workload will be increasing.”