Ceredigion MP Ben Lake has launched an online survey as part of a wider campaign to tackle the issues faced when banking in rural Wales.
The survey is aimed at charitable and community organisations and is seeking information on their experiences of community banking in Ceredigion.
The survey provides charitable and community organisations an opportunity to express their views amidst a period of significant change for community bank accounts.
It also follows the establishment of a ‘Consumer Duty’ by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). According to the FCA, the Consumer Duty “sets higher and clearer standards of consumer protection across financial services and requires firms to put their customers’ needs first”.
The survey results will inform the Plaid Cymru MP’s discussions with the FCA regarding the efficacy of the new Consumer Duty and help identify further actions the regulator should take to ensure that community groups are not forgotten by the banking sector.
Banks have been closing branches in Ceredigion, and other rural areas in Wales for many years which has impacted on people’s ability to access banking services.
The shift towards online banking, and a tendency to charge fees on certain charity and community accounts have created new obstacles, with charitable and community organisations particularly affected.
Mr Lake (pictured) said: “We are fortunate in Ceredigion to have dozens of volunteer and charitable groups and organisations who make an invaluable contribution to community life.
“From the local sports team to mental health advice lines, these organisations offer much-needed support, but also help enrich the lives of residents across the county.
“The way in which many of the large retail banks deal with these organisations has changed significantly in recent years. Following the introduction of the new Consumer Duty by the Financial Conduct Authority last summer, it is timely to consider its impact in Ceredigion.
“I am determined to ensure that banks are held to account regarding the requirements from the FCA but to do so, I must first understand the challenges faced by these community groups when banking
“I am hoping this survey, aimed at members and officers of charitable and community organizations across Ceredigion will capture the experiences of Ceredigion’s community groups and charities. I am eager to see if the FCA’s ‘Consumer Duty’ has improved the service in Ceredigion and lightened the burden for organisations.”
The survey is open to the public – members or officers of charitable or community organisations in Ceredigion who are eager to share their experiences of using banking services.