The saga about the boarded-up ex-Barclays Bank branch continues

ex-Barclays Bank boarded upAfter my article on my disappointment at the state of the boarded-up ex-Barclays Bank branch, I was involved in a friendly twitter exchange with Barclays Bank, in which they suggested I register a complaint online.

This I did. Pretty quickly afterwards I received a phone call from Barclays customer complaints team. The Barclays view, was that they no longer had responsibility for the property, and that nothing could now be done to meet my complaint.

My complaint, which I stated again, is that the board covering the place where the cash machine was covered by an unpainted piece of plywood, presenting a most unattractive aspect in our village centre.

My second argument was that the contractors removing the Barclays Bank equipment, being presumably agents of Barclays were obviously charged to secure the building on removal of Barclays kit. Therefore, what instructions were given to them, and are they at fault. Also, most commercial leases are repairing leases, inasmuch, that the lessee is required to return the property to its state on the day they signed the lease.

While this point stalled the customer services representative’s argument. It didn’t win the argument. So, it looks like a letter is needed to members of the Barclays Executive Board.

All this palaver for a lick of paint.

Michael Gove MP presses Barclays Bank to retain Lightwater bank branch

The Lightwater Business Association requested Michael Gove’s help in pressing Barclays Bank to retain their branch in Lightwater. Here’s Michael’s letter to Tim Salter, chairman of the LBA.

If Barclays retain their ATM in the village, that will be a small and worthwhile victory.

The LBA fights to retain Barclays Bank branch in Lightwater

As I’m sure you know, Barclays have announced their intention to close their branch in Lightwater on the 27th March 2015. I’ve already written about this in detail HERE.

The Lightwater Business Association [LBA] is objecting to the loss of branch banking services in Lightwater. It has organised a petition, online HERE, which is also accessible through, and also in most local shops in Lightwater. Do please register your support by signing the petition.

Writing to Anthony Jenkins, the CEO of Barclays Bank at, 1 Churchill Place, London, E14 5HP, the LBA received a reply to facilitate a meeting with the Barclays Community Leader, Matthew Bell, at the Barclays Bank in Camberley.

That meeting took place last week between Tim Salter, chairman of the LBA, Mike Duffy of Duffy’s Budgens, and Karen Whelan, Chief Executive of Surrey Heath Borough Council. The result of which was disappointing in that Matthew Bell said that the closure of the branch was continuing. To which the LBA have written again to Anthony Jenkins, presenting their case in greater detail. Here’s that letter,

More on the Lightwater Barclays Bank branch closure

Barclays Bank NoticeThinking more about Mike Duffy’s excellent interview on BBC Radio Surrey yesterday, I thought how short-sighted of Barclays Bank to close their branch without making any effort to increase business in the branch.

I’ve just answered some questions on the closure to a reporter from the Camberley News. Good on them for picking up on this issue.

Among the comments I made to the Camberley News were,

  • We all understand that banking has to adapt to change, this should not mean that it dispenses with its essential role – to accept deposits from customers, use that money to make loans, and provide other financial services to customers, both through a bank branch and the internet.
  • Most businesses looking at loss of custom consider innovative ways to attract more business – apparently not so for Banks. Probably because they can make plenty of money through fiddling the Forex rates, and not having to bother with branch banking. Banking is rooted in people’s minds with a physical presence on the High Street.
  • I frequently referred to Mike Duffy’s excellent interview with BBC Radio Surrey, where he said the bank branch serves around 20,000 people. This is true, as the 34 & 35 bus service means residents in Bisley, West End, and Bagshot have easy access to the concentration of shops and services in Lightwater – Barclays bank, Boots, Duffy’s Budgens, Hairdressers, Dry Cleaner, George Arthur Butchers, Post Office, Bookmaker, Petrol Station with M&S simply Food, Jeweller, Newsagent, and a Cook shop.
  • Consider how Lloyds Bank in Camberley’s Mall has changed, moving away from counters to providing a relaxing environment in which they can offer financial advice to customers. Barclays should consider a similar innovative layout in Lightwater.

I said more, but can’t now remember what I said. I’ll have to buy the newspaper to check.

Lightwater fighting back against Barclays Bank branch closure

Barclays Bank NoticeThe Lightwater Business Association [LBA] has asked for a meeting with Barclays Bank to understand why their branch in Lightwater is due to close on March 27th 2015.

The LBA is offering to help Barclays to keep their branch open with ways to increase business at the branch. So far Barclays has not responded. This offer and more was made by Mike Duffy in an interview on BBC Radio Surrey this morning.

Well done to Mike Duffy, he presented his arguments succinctly, mentioning that the LBA is backing on online petition to Barclays objecting to the closure

I’ve just added my name to the petition. Add your name to the petition.

Lightwater’s Barclays Bank branch to close in March 2015

I bank with Barclays, so that’s why I received a letter today informing me that the Lightwater branch will close on Friday 27th March 2015.

Disappointing and annoying news. I guess even lucky Lightwater is not immune from changes. Below is part of Barclays letter to me. They recommend using Knaphill branch, but it has very poor parking. I expect my chum Surinder at Lightwater Post Office will b e doing more business.


It doesn’t get any better for the Co-op Bank in banking review

On November 21st the Daily Telegraph reported on a New blow for Co-op as the ethical bank is panned in nationwide saving product review. It’s not surprising, given that the chairman from 2009 to June 2013 has been exposed as having little banking or business experience.

The Daily Telegraph’s article says,

Despite its stance as an “ethical” organisation the Co-op failed to score even ‘One Star’ for either its savings accounts, current accounts, personal loans or credit cards.

It’s the Fairbanking Ratings the Daily Telegraph quotes from, which is prepared by the Fairbanking Foundation.

Needing to regain the respect of their customers, it’s pleasing to read that many banks have improved products they offer to the public – though, in my experience, there’s much improvement needed with their call centres. The Foundation’s chief executive, Antony Elliott, says,

“It is exciting to see the pace of product improvement really picking up now, just three years after we ran the first Ratings survey and granted the first Fairbanking Marks to the products that earned accreditation. It is also encouraging to think that nearly half a million people in the UK have taken out a banking product that we know from their fellow customers has made a real difference to how they manage or save their money. We have solid evidence now that our efforts are serving their purpose and that banking providers are increasingly keen on improving the extent to which their products help their customers.”

Co-op Bank customers can only hope that the Bank uses this opportunity to regain their trust, through a thorough review of the competences of their executives, and product offerings. They’ll need to rise up these Ratings when they are published for 2014.

Bad for Labour, yes. But it’s a national embarrassment too

MirrorpageIt’s an amazing unfolding story about Paul Flowers, the Methodist minister, the ex-Labour councillor forced to resign over inappropriate behaviour, the ex-Co-op Bank chairman who had no credible banking experience, and then being serial drug-user and user of rent boys.

While the revelations are deeply damaging to the Co-operative Group, and the Co-operative Bank, and the Labour Party, they are equally deeply embarrassing for the nation.

That our bank oversight and regulation is so weak that someone like Paul Flowers can be entrusted to run a high street bank is surely cause for national shame.

Sun_CoopI’m in agreement with Charles Moore in The Spectator that it neither speaks well of our press and media, apart from the Daily Mail, who’ve signally failed to uncover these sordid details before, nor of what Moore calls the ‘rotten heart of the Labour movement’.

How pained must those upstanding and loyal Labour supporters feel about this. Although change will be promised no doubt. Where there’s politics involved there’s skulduggery too, as Tony Blair observed. So change will be an illusion.

Fewer Bonuses for Bankers in Britain

Fewer Bonuses for Bankers in Britain is the headline in an article in DealB%k, a respected US financial blog. The article reports on the data researched by recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley. Odd that this has been missed by the UK press. I found it in DealB%k, a blog in the New York Times stable, and it’s also available to read on Bloomberg. I guess it doesn’t fit the banker-bashing narrative of the UK press.

Here’s the article snippet from DealB%k,

Britain's bankers get  fewer bonuses