CEREDIGION politicians are seeking an “urgent meeting” with banking bosses after Lloyds Bank announced that it would be shutting down its branch in Lampeter next year.

Lloyds confirmed the closure of its High Street branch on 15 May 2023, saying it is “responding to changes in customer habits and a significant reduction in footfall at the branch.”

Ceredigion MP, Ben Lake has criticised the decision, calling such closures in rural areas “all too common”.

He said stripping communities of access to “vitally important services” puts people who cannot travel elsewhere in a difficult position.

Mr Lake and MS Elin Jones have said they are seeking an urgent meeting with the bank to discuss its reasoning for the closure and the options available for residents who will “no longer have a bank open to local people”.

Mr Lake said: “I am really disappointed to hear Lloyds’ announcement.

“If this closure goes ahead then residents of Lampeter and the wider area will be left without a bank and the vitally important services that it offers to both individual customers and local businesses.

“I hope to meet with Lloyds in the near future to challenge the reasons for the decision, and to discuss what options they will be offering to my constituents who may not be able to travel elsewhere for banking services should the closure proceed.

“Unfortunately bank closures, especially in more rural areas, have becoming all too common.

“The UK Government has long made promises to legislate to ensure access to cash, and legislation is currently going through Parliament that would strengthen the law so as to protect community banking services.

“I am hoping this law will not be too late for Lampeter, but will continue to raise the issue of rural banking services with the Treasury.”

Ms Jones said: “This is a huge blow for residents, businesses, and local societies in Lampeter who bank with them, particularly elderly and vulnerable customers who might find it hard to access viable alternatives.

“I have long championed the importance in maintaining a vibrant local economy of essential local services in all our rural market towns, including banking and cash handling for businesses and individuals alike.

“Unfortunately, the number of bank branches and free-to-use ATMs in Ceredigion has been slashed in recent years, so it’s vital that new legislation protects free access to cash for the millions of people who rely on it.”

Lloyds Banking Group said: “We’re responding to the way our customers use our branches.

“We’ll continue to invest in our branch network, but we have to make sure our branches are where customers need and use them most.

“As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to close this branch because customers are using it less often.

“In addition the majority of customers are also using alternative ways to bank.”