I’ve held my current account with Barclays for a number of years – 8 years and 8 months to be exact. From a customer perspective, it’s been a rather pleasurable experience. I mean, the bank possess a number of undeniable attractive qualities/features:
- Barclays branches are numerous – they’re up and down the country.
- Easy to withdraw cash (and for free)
- Internet banking is a joy – nicely designed, secure and very accessible.
- Security is taken seriously (for example, all current account customers have free access to Kaspersky Internet Security)
Unfortunately, it’s what is happening behind the scene(s) that has me concerned. A number of incidents have come to surface over the past months/years which have raised a high level of concern:
- The Barclays’ twins have a record of not paying UK corporation tax.
- The bank does not operate in the interest of its shareholders which is contrary to the spirit of a company (owned by its shareholders).
- The company once held a secret tax avoidance department dubbed “Structured Captial Markets” (or SCM) which advised corporations on tax avoidance schemes. It’s unethical advice earned Barclays a healthy £1bn a year.
- The bank has a dirty history of overpaying it’s top-ranking staff.
- The FSA and the Serious Fraud Office are investigating claims that the bank lent the state of Qatar money so that it could invest the money in itself.
- The FSA are investigating Barclays for swap mis-selling.
- And we all know about the libor scandal…
In light of these unethical practices and mis-running of the company, I’m taking a stand. Yes, I’m moving my current account elsewhere.
I think it’s important that I (and the rest of society for that matter) become more responsible with not only how but with whom I spend my money. I wouldn’t help a thief steal; why would I help Barclays? I feel sorry for Barclays front-line staff who work in its branches up and down the country. They are also victims from Barclays mismanagement.
I think certain groups organizations need to reconsider their partnership with the Barclays group (ie. City of London – “Boris bikes”, the English Premier League, etc).