Wales has suffered the most bank closures since 2015, with the Amman Valley area topping the charts, according to consumer experts Which?

In the past four years 80 per cent of banks in the Carmarthen East & Dinefwr constituency have shut their doors.

The closures in the area mean that only three banks serve a population of 71,000 people.

Which? warned communities face losing access to vital financial services.

This trend is sweeping across communities within Wales with the Which? analysis indicating a 10.7% national decrease in the number of free-to-use cash machines.

The research found the most deprived areas are being hit the hardest by the loss of free-to-use cash machines.

This follows a warning from network operator NoteMachine that as many as 3000 of their free-to-use cash machines could switch to charging fees.

In June, the group warned assembly members that Wales had witnessed 216 bank closures over a four-year period.

"Banks are closing their branches at an alarming rate, which risks shutting many people out of vital financial services and affecting their ability to access their own cash," said Which? money editor, Jenny Ross.

Commenting on the Which? analysis, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards said: “This is a shocking report revealing the full extent of both the reduction of free-to-use cash machines and the loss of local banks within Wales. This is a double hit on the ability of people to access cash within our small towns and rural communities.

“These are both vital services as small businesses and people who rely on access to cash, particularly the elderly and vulnerable are the hardest hit, who will find it harder to afford the additional charges.

“I have proposed a radical shake up of the banking model and Plaid Cymru has been consistent in putting forward a number of solutions to address this crisis.

“Both the British and the Welsh Government know they have a duty to ensure everyone has access to banking services. Adam and I will not allow this contempt for our constituents to continue and we are campaigning for the creation of a Welsh Public Bank model to meet the needs of our small towns and rural communities.”

Last year, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM, Adam Price, led a debate in the Senedd into establishing a Welsh Public Bank. This move led to the Welsh Government commissioning a report but little progress has been made since. Adam Price has called on the Welsh Government to bring forward its action plan as a matter of urgency.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM, and Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price added: “There are two issues here and the news is not good if you live in the poorest areas in Wales and rely upon free-to-use cash machines, especially where the local banks have long gone. The residents of Carmarthenshire are being abandoned by those who have a duty to provide essential services.

“It is time for the Welsh Government to work with the banks to act immediately to address this crisis. I want to see the Welsh Government publish and deliver an action plan immediately to put the brakes on the loss of banking services.

“Under my leadership, a Plaid Cymru government will create a more sustainable system of banking that is rooted in the community.”

According to the consumer outfit, RBS group's NatWest shut 638 branches, while sister bank RBS closed 412 - that is 74% of all RBS group UK banks.

Lloyds Bank closed just over 400 branches, Santander closed nearly 300, while the Co-op lost 152.

UK Finance, which represents banking interests, said consumers are choosing new ways to bank, using technology.

But it said it was working to ensure everyone has access to cash and said decisions to close a bank branch were "never taken lightly".

The full report can be viewed at