British Bank on the Brink

Arrogant, entitled and apparently unaccountable to its customers, Barclays Bank is a perfect example of what's wrong with former Great Britain

by Bill White

I've been trying to open a bank account for one of my companies since the beginning of May, just before #COVID19 descended upon the world, giving everyone so inclined an excellent excuse for their own incompetence. In fact, it was more than one account, but that isn't really the problem...

In the middle of February 2020, I opened three business accounts with Barclays Bank without much bother at all. I was already banking there with my personal account, so the choice was a natural one. My account contact was quite pleasant and professional but then Coronavirus struck and she called me to tell me, in effect, that she'd passed someone in the hall who could have possibly been in contact with someone who might have been near someone who quite possibly could have been exposed to the Chinese virus... resulting in 12-weeks' paid leave, very likely funded by the British taxpayers.

As her holiday was nearing its end, she called again to say that she'd been transferred and so as a result, I was referred to Clare Harding, who also works for Barclays but who is based in Preston, Lancashire.

From the first moment Harding contacted me I got the distinct feeling that her sole intent was to disabuse me of any notion that I should bank with Barclays Bank. So rude, so thoroughly arrogant and completely unapologetic, Harding worked extremely hard destroying my otherwise favourable opinion of her employer in two separate telephone calls. Within 24 hours, she had cancelled my appointments.

Subsequently, some days later, I spoke to someone in Barclays New Accounts who took all of the details required to open up the (now) five bank accounts that I wanted to establish and he kindly made fresh appointments for me, now set for some 6 weeks in the future. I described the problem that I had suffered at the hands of Harding and he assured me that everything would go smoothly this time.

No such luck. Harding somehow latched onto my account applications but despite our previous conversations, albeit in a guarded manner, I persevered and simply hoped that she would assist me in opening the bank accounts. One telephone call was to acknowledge the details of the accounts. A second telephone call, a week later, was to tell me that she'd be calling me the following week (no kidding, that was the purpose of the call). And I waited.

Finally, today, in advance of the planned call, Harding called me and in what can only be described as intentional goading, seeking to upset me. I ended the call, telling her that we would speak Thursday, as planned.

Within 2 minutes I received an email from Harding informing me that my appointments had been cancelled, for a second time.

Well, that's my experience with Barclays Bank. What's yours? Tell us.


Bill White is CEO of WireNews.