For the attention of Heads of banking services in Wales,
I recently received several correspondences from members of the public responding to HSBC's decision to terminate their Welsh-language telephone service. My response to all correspondence has been consistent; namely, that the news is extremely disappointing and that I am committed to increasing the use of our language. This is a priority for the Welsh Government and central to our strategy, Cymraeg 2050: A million Welsh speakers.
The Welsh Government has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Welsh Language Commissioner. In the Memorandum, the area of banking is the responsibility of the Commissioner. However, I am very keen to support the Commissioner with her work by contacting you to emphasise the importance of offering your services in Welsh to your customers.
I understand that several branches and services across Wales are already doing fantastic work for the Welsh language. Therefore, I would like to thank you for ensuring that the Welsh language is visible in your services and urge you continue to serve the people of Wales with a proactive bilingual offer. However, we still have work to do to increase the use of Welsh and to protect it for future customers and citizens.
The Welsh Language Commissioner's Hybu (promotion) team is available to support the sector in increasing their use of Welsh and I encourage you to contact them for further support. The Commissioner will continue to work closely with the banking sector during the coming year to do the following:
- Maintain proactive relationships with the banks and building associations
- Arrange a visit with heads and senior officials of banks and building societies during 2024
- Include information on their website stating what Welsh language services is available from which bank and building society and update this annually
I would also like to draw your attention to a text translation and proof-reading service, Helo Blod. The Helo Blod team are available to support businesses in Wales to increase their use of Welsh. Please contact them for a further conversation.
Thank you to everyone who is already doing great work for the Welsh language in this sector, and a special thank you to everyone who is eager to develop their Welsh language services for the future.
Jeremy Miles MS
Minister for Education and Welsh Language