NATWEST has announced today (Dec 1) that it has taken the decision to close Cardigan branch on May 30, 2018, with the Lampeter branch to follow on June 12.
In response to this announcement, Elin Jones and Ben Lake, Assembly Member and Member of Parliament for Ceredigion, have expressed their dissappointment at the decision and have called on the bank to reconsider.
Plaid Cymru has also called on the Welsh Government to make swift progress in establishing a public bank in Wales so that a system of community banks can be established.
Ben Lake has asked the Chief Executive of NatWest for a meeting to discuss the way in which the banks are abandoning rural communities in Ceredigion, while Elin Jones will be meeting with representatives in the constituency next week.
Ben Lake MP, said: “I am deeply disappointed at NatWest’s decision to close its branches in Cardigan and Lampeter. It’s a significant blow not only to both rural towns, but to members of staff, their families, and the bank’s customers.
“In this time of austerity communities across the county are losing banking services at a frightful pace: this most recent announcement follows the closure of other banks in Aberaeron, and towns such as Llandysul and Tregaron no longer have any bank branches at all.
“These commercial banks are abandoning rural communities across Ceredigion; less than a decade after taxpayers bailed them out at the height of the financial crisis, they are now threatening to undermine the financial underpinning of the local economy.”
Elin Jones AM, said: “This is terrible news for both Lampeter and Cardigan that Natwest is closing its branches in June 2018.
“Banks are imposing buildings on our high streets – built originally as banks. Their withdrawal hits the high street visibly, as well as losing their vital service for the community. The banks caused this last decade’s recession and to add injury to insult, they are now abandoning our communities.
“I will be meeting with Natwest representatives this week, and I will be emphasising the point that even though technology is moving forward, and more people are banking online, we still need our highstreet banks, which are vital assets for our local businesses.”
Ben Lake MP, added: “As the big banks continue to remove themselves from our rural areas, it is becoming increasingly apparent that we desperately need to introduce an alternative model of banking more firmly committed to supporting local communities, such as the system of community banks we find in Germany. We must ensure that the banking model of the future is rooted in our communities – we deserve better than this.
“I will be seeking a meeting with the Chief Executive of NatWest bank and will be speaking to representatives next week to discuss why they are abandoning rural communities, and to urge him to reconsider this decision.
“In the meantime, I offer my full support to the members of staff at the two branches, and am ready to provide whatever assistance that I can at this difficult time.”
A digital future for Ceredigion
STARTING from today (Dec 15), we are excited to announce that The Ceredigion Herald will be a digital only publication.
Our website and social media pages have always been an important outlet for delivering news to Ceredigion, and with the re-launch of Herald Radio this year, and the launch of our news channel Herald News 24 next year, the methods in which we deliver news to Ceredigion is only going from strength to strength.
Put simply, what this means for our readers is more content, delivered quicker, and with all the benefits that only an online platform can provide – such as picture galleries and video content.
Since the first edition, The Ceredigion Herald has gained a reputation for tackling the tough stories which others ignored, reporting on local news and events, and being a voice for the communities across Ceredigion.
This is not changing.
Over the coming weeks and months we will be rolling out new additions to the website, launching our online news channel, and much more.
We hope you look forward to the evolution as much as we are, and if you have any comments, feedback or ideas, we’d love to hear them.
FUW holds open meeting to discuss bank closures
IN LIGHT of the announced NatWest bank closures in Ceredigion, affecting the Lampeter and Cardigan branches, the Farmers’ Union of Wales is holding open meetings with Plaid Cymru to discuss a way forward with local MP Ben Lake and AM Elin Jones.
The meetings will take place on Thursday (Dec 21) at Lampeter Rugby Club and Thursday, January 18 at the Guildhall, Cardigan. Both meetings will commence at 7.30pm and are open to all.
Speaking ahead of the meetings, FUW Ceredigion CEO Mared Jones said: “The closure of those banks will have a detrimental effect on our local towns, as they serve not only villages close by but many of the neighbourhoods in surrounding areas, as well as providing employment to local people.
“We are therefore holding two open meetings with our local elected representatives to discuss a way forward and I hope many of you will be able to join us.”
Farmers warned of targeted fraud attacks
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is warning the farming community to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as a scam specifically targeting the agricultural sector has been identified.
During December farmers start to receive payments through the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy).
Information about the payments, including the recipients’ names and the amount paid, is publically available, meaning criminals are able to directly target victims making their approaches appear more convincing.
The scam communications will typically claim that fraud has been detected on the farmer’s bank account and that urgent action is required to safeguard funds.
The victim is then persuaded to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.
With some grants worth thousands of pounds, in past years fraudsters have stolen significant amounts of money from their victims.
Paul Callard, Financial Crime Team, Dyfed Powys Police said: “If you receive such a call or message, hang up the phone and do not reply directly. Instead, wait five minutes and ring your bank to alert them to the scam, using a phone number that you trust – such as the one from the official website.”
Be wary of:
• Any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from your bank, the police, a Government body or other organisation asking for personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.
• Cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.
• Any request to check that the number showing on your telephone display matches an organisation’s registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller.
• You will never be asked for your 4 digit PIN or your online banking password, or for you to transfer money to a new account for “fraud reasons”.
• If you receive a suspicious call, hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or where possible use a different phone line, then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud.
Never disclose your:
• Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.
• Your password or online banking codes.
• Personal details unless you are certain you know who you are talking to. People are not always who they say they are.
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