THE huge impact of the closure of bank branches particularly in rural areas has been spelled out in a survey conducted by the Welsh Assembly.

The Senedd’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills committee’s Access to Banking survey has highlighted the problems being faced by both businesses and individual customers alike.

Among the survey’s results:

87 per cent of respondents said they have been impacted by bank branch closures

36 per cent reported that branch closures had increased their banking journey time by 30 minutes

40 per cent said that regular access to a mobile bank branch would help but was not the answer, with 71 per cent either very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with the mobile service offered

59 per cent said that branch closures had led to empty/deteriorating buildings on the high street

29 per cent said it now takes up to an additional 60 minutes to access a bank branch

The highest percentage of respondents came from rural counties – Powys (19 per cent), Ceredigion (14 per cent) and Carmarthenshire (12 per cent).

Problems with banking in the Amman Valley were highlighted in the survey's responses.

One responded said the state of the banks in Ammanford were holding the high street and town back.

They said: “Graffiti on Natwest Ammanford, deterioration on HSBC and especially former Lloyds have dragged the town down.”

The shift in focus of banks to internet banking, with more branches closing in the region, was also highlighted as a concern in the survey.

One respondent said: "“It frustrates me as not everything can be done online.

"As much as I can check my balance online, so much I still can’t do so it isn’t helpful moving everything there.

"Internet speeds and phone signal in my valley is awful too.”

Another added: "“I hate being forced to use digital banking. I don't trust it.

"I never remember my passwords/pass codes and answers to special questions.

"It's much harder to resolve problems without a person.

"I have to do my elderly neighbours banking on her behalf as she has never had either a mobile phone or computer.”

The lack of mobile signal was another big reason behind the concerns, shared by 12 per cent of those who responded.

Results on the Access to Banking by the Welsh Assembly's Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee are available at