• October 11, 2015


HSBC are not living up to their reputation as the ‘world’s local bank’ according to renowned Welsh harpist Robin Huw Bowen.

Mr Bowen found himself barred from the Aberystwyth branch of the bank after he criticised the prominence given to the Welsh language on a sign at the entrance.

The sign had the English word Welcome in big letters but the Welsh translation ‘Croeso’ was in much small letters. Mr Bowen said that in effect the National language of Wales was being treated in the same way as foreign languages, including French and Spanish, which are also on the sign in small letters.

However when Mr Bowen attempted to raise his concerns with staff he found he was anything but WELCOME/CROESO at the branch and was asked to leave and astonishingly banned from the bank even though he has regularly used it.

He has called for HSBC customers in Wales to complain to the bank to ensure the sign gives priority to the Welsh language.

Mr Bowen, of Capel Seion, said:

“The ‘battle for the language’ has been won, we are told. Why then do businesses and bodies still refuse to respect our language here in Wales in the 21st century?

“This sign is actually in a branch of the ‘world’s local bank’ here on our doorstep in Aberystwyth, treating our national language as foreign.

“I believe this is basically racist, the bank consider Wales to be no more than a part of England.

“The bank has now banned me as I have made a rather noisy, public fuss every time I have complained, but many, many of my friend’s, both Welsh and English-speaking agree with my stance that the sign is racist and an affront to all of us in Wales.”

A HSBC spokesperson told the Cambrian News:

“We work hard to provide Welsh language services and have a close relationship with the Welsh Language Commissioner to help inform how we best communicate with our customers.

“We have shared Mr Bowen’s concern about our welcome sign with our own Welsh language team as we take feedback seriously and will make sure it is fully considered.

“We are sorry Mr Bowen found the sign upsetting but due to his behaviour we had to ask him to leave our branch as it became too disruptive for our customers.”

Perhaps if HSBC showed a bit more respect in their Welsh branches for the language of Wales such incidents would not occur.


Issued by: The Celtic News



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