Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, and chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, Stephen Crabb is leading an inquiry in Parliament that will investigate the closure of high street banks in Wales, as well as access to cash.

In November 2023, Pembrokeshire saw the closure of Lloyds Bank in St Davids, and in the coming months both Barclays Bank and Halifax in Haverfordwest are set to close.

A call for Pembrokeshire County Council to review its banking arrangement with Barclays, after the bank announced it was closing its branch in the county town, is to be considered by senior councillors, following a notice of motion made by Councillor Huw Murphy.

Neighbouring Ceredigion has also seen recent bank closures.

In January, it was announced that the Cardigan branch of Barclays is to close in April, and Lloyds Bank, which occupies an imposing building on the town’s High Street, has announced its own June closure plans.

Aberystwyth, in the north of the county, is also due to see its Barclays branch close in May, with its Halifax branch closing in July.

Wales has seen, in 2024, 23 high street bank closures announced, while automated teller machines (ATMs) declined by nearly a quarter between 2018 and 2023.

The committee will consider how declining high street banking services are impacting vulnerable people and small businesses across, and will also examine how Wales is being affected by the loss of high street bank services.

Recently Mr Crabb challenged Barclays Bank senior management on their decision to close the Haverfordwest branch, which means they won’t have a branch left anywhere in Pembrokeshire.

He has also engaged with LINK – the UK’s largest cash machine network - and continues to call for a Banking Hub to be established and that ATM machines should be retained or installed, especially in areas worst affected by the closures.

Following the launch of the inquiry, MP Crabb said: “It is really sad to see so many banks across Wales closing as online banking grows in popularity. Despite the advantages of online banking, for a rural community with an ageing population like Pembrokeshire, bank branches hold huge importance as they offer face-to-face customer service.”

He added: “I am looking forward to gathering further evidence on this subject through the committee’s inquiry, and will continue to put pressure on the relevant stakeholders to ensure that adequate alternative provisions are made through the establishment of banking hubs as well as the instalment of ATM machines where necessary.”