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‘Big Four’ banks to give evidence on plans for high street branches

20 May 2024

This week MPs will scrutinise the UK’s ‘Big Four’ banks on their commitment to maintaining access to high street banking services in Wales.

On Wednesday 22nd May, the Welsh Affairs Committee will hear evidence from HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and NatWest as it begins its inquiry into access to high street banking in Wales.

Research by consumer organisation Which? suggests that on current trends, by the end of 2025, Wales will have lost two-thirds of the branches present in 2015, leaving only 188 left in the country. Some towns in Wales such as Abergele and Mountain Ash have been without a bank branch since 2017, effectively making them ‘banking deserts’.

MPs are likely to ask witnesses on the first panel to explain the rationale behind closures of Welsh banks, and what action they are taking to ensure that certain customers – small business owners, or those living in rural areas, for example – are able to access the banking services they need.

Some banks operate alternative services; Barclays, for example, runs a mobile banking van, as did Lloyds until it closed this project in May 2024. MPs are likely to ask why this service was cancelled, and whether doing so risks further isolating communities without a physical branch.

MP’s will investigate what Welsh language services high street banks are currently offering and HSBC’s decision to close their Welsh language phoneline. They will also look at the regulatory environment surrounding bank branch closures.

Later in the session, the Committee will also hear from representatives of the Post Office, Cash Access UK and LINK, who may be asked how their organisations can contribute to alternative services like Banking Hubs.


 Panel one, from 10.00:

  • Christopher Dean - UK Head of Customer Channels, HSBC
  • Miles Ravenhill - Community Bank Director, Lloyds
  • Carole Layzell - Managing Director for Local South, Barclays
  • Jimmy Robertson - Head of Branch Network, NatWest

Panel two, from 10.45:  

  • Ross Borkett, Banking Director, Post Office
  • John Howells, Chief Executive Officer, LINK
  • Gareth Oakley, Chief Executive Officer, Cash Access UK

Further information

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