Robert Hurn
Director
Hurn Limited
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Barclays Bank PLC

Barclays Bank PLC

I have been a Barclays customer for 16 years both personally and as a business.  In light of the seemingly never ending exposures of mal-practice and dishonesty I am minded to move my accounts elsewhere.  This would be a shame as, save for a week or so during the recent upgrade, Barclays online banking is a pleasure to use and I have a good relationship with the staff at my local branch.

I feel very uncomfortable being associated with a bank that has been exposed for fraudulent conduct and have always believed that trust, once lost, is gone forever.  And I’m mindful that if it were I that had been exposed in this manner the bank would drop me like a stone, not to mention its reporting obligation.  As a side issue how can it still be consider ‘fit & proper’ for AML purposes?

I would be interested to know if others feel that to move bank accounts would be an over-reaction to the current circumstances.

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05th Jul 2012 10:38

You don't honestly

believe that, any of the others, are any more "socially upstanding, do you?

Very regretfully, this is now a culture.

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05th Jul 2012 10:41

Sadly ...

I agree with @Time for change.

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05th Jul 2012 11:06

Which Bank is Any Better?

Please correct me if I've got my facts wrong but...

Barclays for years I believe kept the Apartheid situation going in South Africa.

HBSC closed its doors to depositers in Argentina and ordinary people lost all their money with no compensation whatsoever.

Perhaps I'm being unfair or have got the wrong bank names. As far as I can see the whole financial services industry is riven with corruption top down. Although it might not permeate right to the bottom, no customer can consider themselves being protected by the FSA if they are affected. (Not until some longwinded investigation takes place long after the customer has gone bust.)

Now is the time for overpowering action from the government. I won't hold my breath.

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05th Jul 2012 11:13

In addition Moonbeam RBS & LLoyds have raped the taxpayer while continuing to pay themselves cash bonuse the size of the Greek GDP.

As for anything to do with the Santander lot - their internal systems are akin to the their parent nation 

The only good one I've come across is Nationwide which is still a mutual  and clean

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05th Jul 2012 11:20

HBoS has of course been subject to criticism in relation to Farepak and the activities of its department in Reading and the 'recommendation' of management consultants who allegedly took advantage of the customers instructed on the bank's recommendation.

David

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05th Jul 2012 11:25

Coop or nationwide

?

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By JC
05th Jul 2012 11:41

Move to where ...

Barclays has been the one in the spotlight over LIBOR etc. but realistically they have all been at it - just not highlighted in the same way as BD

Believe there are about 15 banks involved with LIBOR & to all accounts just about every one of them has provided fudged figures

Sincerely hope that this whole LIBOR matter expands to other banks & doesn't just die down now that BD & Barclays have been caught - other banks heads need to roll as well

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05th Jul 2012 11:51

Dishonesty and Corruption

I wonder where this disgraceful situation ends?  LIBOR is just the tip of the iceberg, I wonder are our investments being handled in the same grubby sticky fingered way?  The banks are too big and well-capable of manipulating markets (and bonuses) to their own ends; they need to be broken up to remove their ability to do this.  Salaries need to be brought back into line too.  £30million for overseeing such rampant greed?  Disgraceful.  The biggest problem is - Diamond is not alone you can be sure of that.  Such arrogance under justified questioning too ...

I'm trying to imagine what our manufacturing sector could have done with our money that had to be used to bail these banks out.

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By bobhurn
05th Jul 2012 12:38

Out of the frying pan

I tend to agree with most contributors that all the main players have had 'their fingers in the till' and the LIBOR rate could not have been manipulated by one bank alone.  I am minded to switch to the Cooperative bank, as far as I can recall they do not appear to have been implicated in any of the recent scandals.

Assuming that there is a 'clean' bank I feel that they should benefit from new customers as the expenses of their 'dirty' rivals.  But perhaps I'm just getting old and nostalgic.

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By 3569787
03rd May 2016 17:31

Newco bank

?

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By AS
05th Jul 2012 13:54

Newco Bank

A couple of clients have been using Metro Bank, the first new bank opened after manyt years. They like the service received.

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05th Jul 2012 14:10

Bit like Sage isn't it.

Just cos you've only ever used Sage doesn't mean there's not something better out there.

There are ethical banks around, the Co-Op has been mentioned.  After 40 years with Barclays I moved everything over to The Reliance Bank last year.  They cover personal & business banking.

For personal banking, especially longer term money, most of mine is with Triodos. They are brilliant as an organisation, even their magazine is a good read.  Shame you have to be a social enterprise or charity to have a business account with them.  Believe it or not there are accountants out there who operate as such and I am likey to follow that route.

For old fashioned conventional banking I've heard good things about Handelsbanken

Vote with your feet & mice.

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05th Jul 2012 14:23

Ethical banking

Are you actually willing to pay more for an Ethical bank?  I suspect not in reality.  It's a bit like the option to choose "green" fuel from your fuel supplier at a premium.  Who does that?

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05th Jul 2012 14:26

@Paul

Triodos not covered by the FSCS deposit guarantee I see...

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05th Jul 2012 15:10

I do, takes all sorts thisistibi

Don't paint everyone with your own fossil fuel, yes I'd happily pay more, I have every penny of my pension in ethical funds, and have money in a lending scheme with 0% interest.  Fortunately we are not all £ obsessed and I'm much more interested in where my money goes and what it's used for than making an extra % here & there.

I think history shows your route leads to what we are experiencing at the moment in terms of financial instability?

Doesn't worry me that I'm covered up to €100K by the Dutch equivalent, in fact when I put my money into Tridos it exceeded the UK's guarantee.  Given the state of the UK banking sector are you really saying I'm safer with the FSCS guarantee?

 

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Euan MacLennan
11th Jul 2012 11:14

Ethical

Yes I agree wholeheartedly. There comes a time where you realise that yours is only a tiny voice and it takes either a moral, financial or physical effort to do it, or all three, but you decide to change the path you are on and feel better immediately.

I left Barclays last year after 42 years because their service was rubbish and they were too sales driven. If I was still with them I would move immediately, if only to show my displeasure. I don't think I'm as ethical as you are yet, but I'm on my way!

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05th Jul 2012 15:30

@Paul

I think being an accountant and being £ obsessed to go hand-in-hand... but anyway, that is very commendable of you! 

No, I'm not sure I do trust the Dutch scheme.  It's a pretty small economy, if things start to go bad then they will rely on an EU bailout.  The UK is one of the largest economies in the world - if the UK can't guarantee its deposits then we really do have a problem.

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billgilcom
11th Jul 2012 11:33

Speak for yourself

thisistibi wrote:

I think being an accountant and being £ obsessed to go hand-in-hand... but anyway, that is very commendable of you! 

Speak for yourself, but don't tar everybody else with the same brush. 

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05th Jul 2012 17:45

Find another bank

I ended over 150 years of my family banking with Barclays over:

1  mismanaging basic but key transactions - main branch in town didn't have any CHAPS transfer forms and when one was faxed to them it lacked terms and conditions on back.  Then clerk filed it in bottom drawer and went on holiday the week the payment for house purchase was due.  Would have lost the house but for fact it was also week of a postal strike and vendors had sent completion documents by post! Another city centre branch managed to incorrectly transcribe and account number for an international bank transfer and then blamed me for the payment getting lost.  I retrieved funds only because I knew an official of the Central Bank of the country to which the funds had been sent.

2  bad investment management given to my naive mother (including putting money in Axa Morley fund Barclays was fined for mis-selling), ignoring the letter raising concerns and challenging investment adviser's fact finding report and ignoring subsequent letters of complaint over a period of 3 years.

3  generally handling my money as if it were its own, even when given clear instructions about transactions and not taking responsibility when things went wrong.

4 General deterioration in knowledge of bank staff and their ability to put things right.

I am with the Co-op - stricter but straighter and excellent service.

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05th Jul 2012 18:26

Wasn't always like that

It's hard to believe that both Barclays & Lloyds started out as Quaker organisations where integrity & probity ruled.  Things started changing 40-50 years ago when their attention became focussed on themselves rather than others but they still maintained a tough outer skin of the old days which, like my pebbledashing, is now in need of being ripped off and replaced.

A year ago I started calling & writing to Barclays on both business and personal matters and ended up writing two letters of complaint last autumn, neither of which have been acknowledged.  I was a Premier Banking customer (but had forgotten why) but resented paying for the title and the gold leaf cheque book so told them to move me to being Mr Secondary. 

Eventually, some time later, they wrote to me to say they had changed their criteria for being a Premier customer and so, as I didn't fit, I was being dropped.  Then a week later they wrote to me saying how sorry they were and that I should never have got the first letter, then a few weeks later I got a revised version of the 1st letter and was dropped for the second time.

Another letter of complaint followed, in which I pointed out I had dropped them months before and demanding a refund of the monthly fees going back to then and an apology.  A credit appeared in my account some time later but nothing else.

Money can be dangerous stuff and you need organisations that appreciate that and treat it properly which, for me, means putting it to good use for others, not themselves.

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By pawncob
05th Jul 2012 18:51

Ethical and Mutual should be the watchwords

 

But not at the MUTUAL Nationwide where the Directors (5) took £6,776,000 between them.

https://secure.votebyinternet.com/css/nbs12/other-pages/SFS.pdf 

 

I bank with Investec and I trust them because they're South African.

 

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By Old Greying Accountant
05th Jul 2012 20:49

A couple or so points

The rank and file Barclays staff are regular guys and gals, doing the job as best they can, usually over-worked and under paid. I feel for them that their jobs and there pensions could go the way of their SAYE shares due to the incompetence/deceit and coorruption of the few percent at the top. At the end of the day, on the whole they are all as bad as each other.

I am an accountant who is not obsessed by £'s, I rather be writing poems or walking the dog, just happy making enough to cover the food, mortgage and utility bills.

Don't start me on Nationwide, they are closing our local branch in  a few weks, as it is not used enough! I have yet to be the sole customer in there, it is (was) the only building society in town, at one end of a long high street, surrounded by a large aged community, and an estate of lower paid people, all whom rely on it. They now have to get a bus to the main towns, or switch to the big 4 or Santander, who are all a fair step away by zimmer/with buggy and kids. So, a "friendly" society that should be supporting the community forces a ten minute trip to manage finances into a one hour minimum one by bus. I also think the fall out on the other shops in the parade will be devastating, as many only survive as a by product of trips to the Nationwide!

This song caught my imagination at the time and still colours my view:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v439zTOJVho 

 

 

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06th Jul 2012 09:10

But not at the MUTUAL Nationwide where the Directors (5) took £6,776,000 between them """..

That's cheap for banking directors. I know one in another bank who got more than that as a bonus

I bank with Investec and I trust them because they're South African

Don't mention them to members of the Bond Partners Accountants Action Group.

 

As for closing branches Nationwide are a business and have to make tough decisions sometimes even in the face of unintended/unwanted consequences.

 

 

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By JC
06th Jul 2012 10:35

Times newspaper

 

 

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11th Jul 2012 11:12

RBS

Over the past four years RBS managed to (1) lose my pin number between branches, and (2) on three occasions managed to give me the  wrong charge figure when I asked how much a transfer was going to cost.

However, when I wrote to complain, no only did they financially compensated me EVERY time , they also kept me 'in the loop' regarding correspondence!

So, no complaint by me with RBS

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11th Jul 2012 12:02

yes

change imediately, go to HSBC, tell them I recommended you and they will give me £50

I can get the manager to call you and arrange an appointment, if its easier :)

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11th Jul 2012 12:27

Don't trust any of them

OR any other large organisation,

This behaviour is just the group norm for large corporates 40% of the senior management are estimated to not having their frontal lobes working.

Constant change and high pressure is the ideal environment for a psychopath. Who because of their lack of empathy are able to manipulate others and emulate the charisma and leadership skills etc of a high flyer.

The only difference is failure (a covered up trail of destruction) Q.E.D

There are two things that float to the top and there ain't a lot of cream.

 

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By bobhurn
11th Jul 2012 12:35

HSBC?

Hi Tom7000

I'll reserve judgement on HSBC as they have already been mentioned in respect of the LIBOR fraud - time will tell

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11th Jul 2012 12:37

Banks in general

I moved my bank because of percieved ethical problems. I object to someone make million out of my hard earned income. They cannot really justify it. many more ordinary workers can earn their company huge sums and don't get bonus's. They are paid more than enough so why should they get more.

I also objected on grounds of banks treating customers like dirt. Asking for Projected sales sheets and cash flow charts only to see them throw them in the bin in front of me. not to say unsultng my wife who is disabled. and then insulting her disablility in front of customers. I had to take legal action to correct this. I now use Co-op and Nationwide. No others avaiable to me. but at least I feel a little more secure now.

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By jonsa
11th Jul 2012 16:36

Handelsbanken

I agree with Paul Scholes, who wrote "I've heard good things about Handelsbanken ".  I have heard the same - they now have 130 branches in the UK and do not advertise.

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12th Jul 2012 11:43

Don't banks treat us all

like mushrooms?

Kept in the dark and, fed on s**t?

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12th Jul 2012 12:04

Barclays (and clones) yes but...

Would you say that about accountants? 

No not all banks and certainly not the ones I mention above.

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By lme
12th Jul 2012 15:19

Co op

Co Op are great

They are (or at least try to be) ethical and they are a mutual

The internet banking is great

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12th Jul 2012 15:57

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do

....nothing.

 

How can we get them to understand that their behaviour is unacceptable if we do nothing?  I am in the process of switching to the CoOp - maybe it will cost more, maybe it won't be that different but I won't know until I try.  If we all sit here moaning that they are all as bad as each other but carry on banking with them then they are not going to get the message are they?  Vote with your feet.

 

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By eve2206
12th Jul 2012 19:44

Business accounts

Hi

I will also be looking for a business account shortly and reading the above has put me off a lot of them.

Re social enterprise or charity (Triodos) - I have publicly stated that a percentage of my profit (when I make any) will go to two charities - does that count me as a charity or a social enterprise? No. So Triodos should relax their rules I think.

My current account is with Co-op.  They are a good bank but the internet banking does not update in real time.  Eg my daughter's with Lloyds and although it doesn't always show what debit card transactions are coming through, it does state how much she has to spend minus those payments in the pipeline.  Co-op doesn't update that quickly.

In terms of ethical though, surely that's subjective?  Eg I might not want a bank that trades in Japanese stocks because of the whale hunting.  Just a thought!

I will look into Handelsbanken.

Eve

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13th Jul 2012 02:15

Triodos & transparency

eve2206 - I think you may be missing the point here, Triodos invest their funds only in organisations with Social, Environmental or Cultural objectives and therefore are perfectly entitled to stipulate that any businesses or organisations they open accounts for are run on the same basis.  I too donate money to charity and also help out voluntary organisations & charities free of charge but that doesn't mean I show "clear social, environmental or cultural objectives " as stated on their website, ie my prime motive is still (at the moment) to support commercial enterprises and me.

For an idea of what this means have a look at this Aweb article from a couple of years ago, they'd get an account.

As I said, The Reliance bank do great things and offer business bank accounts.  They also let you stipulate a local main bank for paying in money, as opposed to the Co-op who tend to rely on the post office.

You are right Ethics are in the eye (and nose) of the beholder but Triodos, Co-Op & others are transparent about who they lend to and support, and it is part of their constitutions, whereas Barclays, have only one prime motive, Barclays.

 

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By Old Greying Accountant
13th Jul 2012 13:08

If I had any spare money ...

... I'd like to think I would give some to charity, but between the banks and the government that day looks a long way off!

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13th Jul 2012 13:29

Spare money

That reminds me, any spare cash sitting about without a home could always be used by others, cutting out the banks altogether.  Credit Unions will hopefully increase in popularity but anyone else tried ZOPA or, if you're not worried about interest but want to help people out, lendwithcare?

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13th Jul 2012 19:22

Credit unions

have to bank somewhere...

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14th Jul 2012 22:46

Credit Unions

Hi Huw - my point was actually a side issue to the main topic, ie rather than leave any spare cash sitting in a bank account for the banks to use why not lend it directly to others.

Nevertheless good point, yes they do and, as you might guess, the majority use the Co-Op (the clue is in the name). Do you have any thoughts on the op's question?

 

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15th Jul 2012 10:39

Scumbags

Recently moved my meagre savings out of Barclays but kept the free current account. My decision predated the news that Diamond had been paid £2M as severance pay after he'd resigned. Clearly his contract was written in such a way that even if he'd committed murder and been banged up he would have been entitled to this money. I've never met anybody that gets a brass farthing if they resign from a job.

I rather suspect that there will be others in the frame for this fraudulent behaviour and might have to replicate my actions again some time.

As to the question, it looks as if the Co-op bank seems the least crooked at present.

 

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16th Jul 2012 09:24

Does anybody have an in depth understanding of the crimes comitted by Barclays?

What is the difference between the Treasury keeping base rates artificially low at 0.5% and what Barclays did.Is LIBOR a free market?

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16th Jul 2012 09:32

I'm not sure either @uktaxpal

I also wondered if the major part of the fraud was that they lowered the Libor rate for the purposes of borrowing, but kept it high when calculating lending rates.

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By pawncob
16th Jul 2012 10:06

I always thought that it was the banks' job to set LIBOR, it being by definition an average of the London Banks' overnight rate. One contibutor setting an artificially high rate makes a miniscule difference and it's then up to the other banks to decide whether the rate declared is correct.  Each bank decides what its lending is actually worth and each other bank decides whether or not it's a rate worth paying. It's called a free market, and only ceases to be that when politicians suddenly decide to interfere.

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16th Jul 2012 12:27

@uktaxpal

The Bank of England sets interest rates as part of the country's monetary policy, which is for the benefit of the country as a whole.  When Barclays manipulates the LIBOR rate, it is done for personal gain - i.e. to boost the company's profits or in the case of the artificially reduced rates, to hide the fact that the company was struggling. It is done at other people's expense.

What you are asking is analogous to "what's the difference between theft and taxes"?

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By bobhurn
16th Jul 2012 12:52

Historic Information

My understanding is that stating what you have actually paid recently for funds is part of the LIBOR calculation.  If this is understated it would amount to a serious manipulation of the figures.  What was paid is an actual figure not an estimate.  It does appear that Barclays are not going to be the only ones in the firing line, time will tell.

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16th Jul 2012 13:02

Not right

bobhurn wrote:

My understanding is that stating what you have actually paid recently for funds is part of the LIBOR calculation.  If this is understated it would amount to a serious manipulation of the figures.  What was paid is an actual figure not an estimate.  It does appear that Barclays are not going to be the only ones in the firing line, time will tell.

No, it's an estimated rate not an actual rate.  One of the interesting things about the debate is that banks were not actually lending to each other during the banking crisis, so it was actually impossible to provide an accurate figure.  

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16th Jul 2012 17:38

Penalty

JC wrote:

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/static/pubs/final/barclays-jun12.pdf

I wonder if they will try to claim a tax deduction for the £59.5m penalty.  

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16th Jul 2012 21:22

Minimal effect

My conclusions are as follows:

 

         1/The majority of retail bank customers will not be significantly affected

            as the distortion per the graphs in the FSA note is very small.

         2/Sophisticated and trade customers will be affected if they used interest

            rate derivatives or possibily forex derivs.

        3/LIBOR is not a competitive free market unlike say the commodities markets.

       4/Dont forget the USA fines

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