THE threatened closure of one of two banks left in a town is a blow for customers according to an MP.

Bala is set to lose its branch of Barclays, meaning the bank’s customers now face an 18 mile drive or 40 minute bus ride to Dolgellau or a 22 mile drive or hour’s bus ride to Llangollen.

According to Barclays, visits to the branch which now opens just three days a week have declined by 15%.

Barclays say 24% of the branch’s customers have used a neighbouring branch over the past 12 months.

However the bank also say that 31% of the branch’s customers do not use mobile or online banking.

The closure which is scheduled for March 23 next year will leave the town with just HSBC. Mayor of Bala, the Rev Dorothi Evans, called on the bank to reconsider.

“I am concerned about the decision made by Barclays Bank to cease providing their service here in Bala in March 2018,” she said.

“Local people are extremely worried and as many do not have access to the modern way of banking and many of the residence are elderly and they would have to travel to Dolgellau.

“It is also hard to understand the decision when Bala is considered to be a thriving town with tourism and agriculture being two important employers in the area.

“I sincerely hope that there is time to get the Bank to reconsider and accept that their service is of paramount importance to rural areas.”

MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Liz Saville Roberts said: “Closing the Barclays bank in Bala will be a blow for customers and for the town centre.”

“It’s not good enough for banks to continually advise that all customers should move onto on-line banking because we all know that not everybody has access to a reliable internet connection, particularly so in rural areas like parts of Dwyfor Meirionnydd where reliable digital connectivity is a problem.”