THE LAST bank in Machynlleth is set to close later this year.

Barclays bank have told their customers that they will have to use their nearest branch 12 miles away in Tywyn after the branch in the town is closed on September 21, and blame"falling transactions" for the decision.

The decision has been lambasted by politicians.

Machynlleth County Councillor, Michael Williams said that the bank was leaving Machynlleth "in the lurch."

Cllr Williams said: "It is clear when speaking to local people that while the transfer of banking services to the Post Office or mobile and online banking works for some people, it doesn’t always replace permanent over the counter facilities at the bank, especially for businesses or those residents who are elderly or disabled.

Montgomeryshire AM, Russell George, said:"This is the latest in a long line of high street branch closures across Montgomeryshire,

"I'm disappointed at Barclays' decision to close its branch in Machynlleth, especially as this will mean that the town will now be without any bank. "This decision quickly follows their decision to close the only remaining high street bank in Llanidloes.

"Unilateral decisions like these only confirm that these giant banking groups have little regard for communities in Mid Wales who rely on their services.

Mr Russell added that he hoped that Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones would lead the discussion with banks and regulators to find a new community banking model.

But Plaid Cymru - if a Bill being put forward in the House of Commons gets support, might find a solution to the rural banking crisis.

The Bill was put forward by Ceredigion MP, Ben Lake if passed would:

Make it more difficult for banks to close.

Create ‘Local Banking Hubs’ – meaning banks will be allowed to use the same premises and administrative functions.

Enhance financial services offered by Post Offices.

Plaid Cymru Mid and West AM Simon Thomas said:

"I asked the Welsh Government to consider the Bill put forward by my colleague Ben Lake MP in the House of Commons.

"We should change the protocol on access to banking in terms of distance rather than time to access.

"When you think of rural areas, the distances can be quite short, but the time that it takes to access those services can be much longer, particularly if you are reliant on public transport.

"Banking regulators should look at the possibility that different banks could share premises, share equipment and even share staff, if required, of course."

Barclays have justified their decision by releasing information that shows the branch, is being used by a dwindling number of people

They said that only 110 people use the Machynlleth branch exclusively for their banking.

The branch is only open for 18 hours a week and is closed on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays.

Jonathan Brenchley, Barclays head of corporate relations, Wales and West, said: "On September 21, we will be closing our branch in Machynlleth.

"Our records show low and falling transactional volumes at the branch.

"This closure means our nearest branch will be at Barclays Tywyn. Everyday transactions, typically carried out over branch counter, can also