USK is set to lose its last bank with the closure of Barclays, Maryport Street on 19th October.

Barclays says the ‘difficult decision’ was taken because fewer and fewer people were using the branch for anything other than basic transactions (a 12 per cent drop in the last 24 months) which could now be done at the local post office.

But the news comes amid growing concerns that Usk’s only post office is also closing, temporarily at least, from late September.

It appears Barclays was unaware of these developments at the post office, after advising customers to head there instead to make deposits and withdrawals.

Councillor Ken Dancer said the town council had recently discussed the impact of the proposed closures on the economics of the town.

“It’s all been causing quite a stir,” he said. “Losing the last bank is a shame - but unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about that. The post office may re-open with different people in charge, but a lot of Usk residents don’t think this will happen. We will certainly be fighting to keep it.

“Many local businesses use both the bank and post office and the town also has a lot of elderly residents who rely on the post office. It’s not just somewhere to pick up your pension, it also fulfills a social function, as somewhere to meet for a coffee and a chat. The weight of opinion is certainly to keep it going.”

A Post Office spokesperson said: “Following the resignation of the postmaster and the withdrawal of the premises for Post Office use, Usk Post Office will temporarily close on Wednesday 26th September.

“We understand and appreciate how important post office services are to people in Usk and we apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused. We would like to assure customers that we are currently investigating the options available which will enable us to provide post office services to the local community in the future.”

Adrian Davies, Barclays Community Banking Director for the area said: “The way customers undertake their banking is changing as people increasingly use online, telephone and mobile devices.

“We hope that the availability of our other Barclays branches at Cwmbran and Maindee and access to banking services at the local post office along with our range of digital channels will help to ease the transition for our customers.”

Monmouth MP David Davies said he appreciated that people’s banking habits had changed radically but there were still many everyday tasks which were best done over branch counters.

“Both HSBC and NatWest have already left Usk. This is ultimately a commercial decision but I hoped Barclays might have felt some responsibility as the last remaining bank and the town’s main 24-hour cash point.”

Mr Davies says he has urged Barclays to stay open until a new operator and premises is found for the post office.

“I have been given an assurance that the Post Office is ‘totally committed’ to providing a service in Usk and work is underway to find a solution as soon as practically possible,” he added.