HSBC to close Chirk and Ruabon branches

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Leader Live)

PEOPLE in Clwyd South will soon have virtually no banking facilities.

HSBC has declared it is pulling out of Chirk and Ruabon in April.

And following other earlier closures, it means Barclays in Llangollen will be the only bank operating in the Clwyd South constituency.

Angry Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones was informed of the impending closures in a letter received yesterday. She was told customers would be informed by letters next week.

In the Commons last night, she asked Speaker John Burcow if anyone from the Government would be making a statement about the closures and government policy of bank shutdowns. 

She was told the answer was ‘no’.

In the letter to Ms Jones, HSBC regional director Jonathan Byrne said: “We have made this decision with great reluctance, but after a careful analysis of both branches’ commercial viability it was clear they are no longer generating the custom necessary to justify their continued operation.

“As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, customer banking habits have changed dramatically in recent years, with many customers now using branches where they work or using the 24-hour convenience of phone, mobile and internet banking.

“In response to these changing patterns, we need to ensure our branches are in the right locations and we invest in the development of our internet and mobile facilities.

“Unfortunately that means we sometimes have to close branches to ensure our network remains fit for purpose.”

Customers will be advised to take their business to nearest HSBC branches in Wrexham, Mold and Ruthin.

Ms Jones spent last night ringing round councillors and other people to inform them about the closures.

She said: “I have just received a letter from HSBC that basically informs us that decades of loyalty from residents and business customers in our area count for absolutely nothing as HSBC will be closing its branches in Ruabon and Chirk.

“These branches are relied upon by people of all ages to do their personal banking. They are also essential for local businesses of all sizes to do their day-to-day banking.

“Both branches are in areas of growing business development and serve customers from villages around.

“HSBC's decision comes after decisions to close branches across many other villages and small towns across the country, including Llangollen, Corwen, Cefn and Rhosllannerchrugog.”

The Labour MP added: “I plan to take HSBC and the UK Government to task over today's shameful decision. The Government is partly to blame for these proposed closures as a couple of years ago the Department of Business, Innovations and Skills (BIS) abandoned its agreement that the last bank in every community should be kept open.

“I asked the Speaker if I could make an urgent point of order on the floor of the House of Commons to ask a Government Minister to make a statement in Parliament on UK Government policy and its effects on villages and towns UK-wide.

“While I will of course meet with HSBC and present any petitions or other representations from town and community councils in Parliament, I think we have to recognise that what is needed here is co-ordinated national action.

“If the Government doesn't act now, our small town and village high streets will suffer even more than they have so far.”

Simon Baynes, the Welsh Conservative Assembly candidate for Clwyd South, has expressed his “severe disappointment” at the HSBC announcement.

Mr Baynes said: "The closure of the HSBC banks in Chirk and Ruabon is a big blow to both towns. I am really disappointed by these decisions particularly, as these branches are the last banks in the communities.

“Bank branches like these are very important to everyone locally, particularly elderly customers, the disadvantaged and local businesses, especially small and medium sized businesses.

“It is vital that HSBC make it a top priority to discuss new arrangements with their customers, particularly the elderly, and to lessen the impact of this decision as far as possible if the bank decides to go ahead with these proposals.

“Many people locally have been loyal customers for many years and I hope that HSBC will think again before closing these branches.

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