Posts Tagged ‘barclays’
Here at your friendly neighbourhood Bitterwallet, we are always looking out for your wallets, and have warned you on numerous occasions of the perils of leaving your cash ISA invested with the same provider forever without checking that you are still getting a good rate of return. Both the word ‘perils’ and ‘good’ in that sentence are relative, but you know what we mean.
Now, millions of ISA investors who trusted Barclays with their money are about to be done out of what pitiful interest they are currently getting, as Barclays have announced a ‘simplification’ to their ISA offering that coincidentally means they will end up paying out less interest to ISA savers. Sounds like a banker’s idea of a great plan.
From November 5, more than two million customers who have money in one of the Barclays’ 11 closed ISA accounts will be automatically transferred to the bank’s Instant Cash ISA 1. The simplified account pays 1.28% on balances up to £15,000, 1.38% on balances up to £30,000 and 1.48% on higher amounts.
Barclays said the vast majority of savers who will see their rates reduced will only lose an average of £2.22 a month. This works out at over £26 a year, which isn’t, perhaps, earth-shattering, but it’s still £26 better in your pocket than in the bank’s. However, some customers will lose over £200 a year- the Freestyle ISA, for example, currently pays 2.76%, meaning savers holding £15,000 in this account will lose £207 a year.
Around 1.6 million savers will have their incomes cut but some Barclays ISA will benefit, with around 744,000 seeing their rate remain the same or rise as a result of the changes. Accounts such as the Barclays Cash ISA and the Tax Beater ISA currently pay laughable rates of interest, at 0.1% and 0.56%, respectively.
But why would people have invested in such ridiculous investments that pay a fraction of 1% interest? It is likely that these products started out with a much higher rate in order to entice savers’ cash, but over time the rate has simply been eroded to become almost entirely pointless, and way below the rate of inflation.
Savers, including ISA savers, should always check that their rate is still good in the market. Often ISA rates will fall after introductory bonuses, or after a guaranteed fixed-rate period. Most banks (correctly) assume that once you have invested your cash, you will ignore it and just expect to cash in an increased sum at some undefined future point.
But you can do something about it, and if you spot a better rate elsewhere you can simply reinvest your cash ISA fund into one that pays you more interest. However, you must NEVER just withdraw your cash ISA cash and then attempt to pay it into another ISA. Even with the new NISA rules, with increased contribution limits- up to £15,000 a year, this way lies madness. There is no common sense in the ISA world, and the second you withdraw ISA cash it becomes, well, simply cash, and any reinvestment would be subject to the annual limits. Instead you have to ask your bank to transfer your ISA fund to the new account, which they must do within strict prescribed time limits.
Also, some of the best cash ISA rates may not accept transfers in. Banks offer great rates to tempt the mugs, who will then forget about their cash (see above), so many ofthem are not willing to pay a higher rate on accumulated balances, they’d rather only cough up against whatever you can manage to save in one contribution (tax) year. Check the small print before requesting a transfer, or search for accounts that specifically accept transfers in.
Like the new simpler Barclays Instant Cash ISA 1. Lee Chiswell, head of savings at Barclays, said: “We want to simplify the way we do business with our savings customers. These changes will make it easier for our customers to understand their products, and easier for our staff to serve them. Customers will also have the added benefit of being able to Transfer-in.”
The 11 cash ISA accounts affected are: Barclays Cash ISA, Direct Cash ISA, Freestyle ISA, Golden ISA, Golden ISA Issue 2 and 3, ISA Saver Issue 1 and Issue 2, Loyalty Reward ISA, Tax Beater ISA and Tax Haven ISA. The bank is writing to its customers this week to inform them of the changes.
No, he didn’t call Step Change, or email the Money Advice Service. Instead he went to the flagship branch of Barclays in Piccadilly, kicked over a security screen and stole a piffling £910.
While yelling ‘Robbery! Robbery! Ha ha ha, I’ve got all the money!’ packets of dye he’d also accidentally pocketed went off in his rucksack – and he ran down Shaftsbury Avenue in a cloud of fetching red smoke.
Before he kicked down the screen and made his rather fabulous ‘getaway’, unemployed Adedibu had tried and failed to get money out over the counter because he was in thousands of pounds of debt.
So, thinking up a novel way to pay off his overdraft, he turned up five minutes later and demanded £10,000. He was caught the next day after his details were traced from his original (failed) transaction.
‘I’m sorry,’ said a now subdued Adedibu, as he was escorted to jail for 18 months. Bless him.
This is the modern world, as Paul Weller once snarled, so instead of having people who sit behind desks and actually know stuff, Barclays is re-assigning 6,500 cashiers to act as roaming banking concierges, who will try and encourage you to use a machine.
Yes, a person’s job will actually be to encourage you not to talk to them, thus eventually rendering their job obsolete. But it’s okay – they will have an iPAD!
They’ll be called Community Bankers, and it’s all part of Barclays’ obsession with becoming ‘counterless.’ Most people don’t mind counters – at least they’re something to lean on when you’re wearily putting your head in your hands – but Barclays appear to be dreaming of an automated future free from cumbersome, awkward humans who want to be paid wages.
Barclays said the move ‘reflects the radical way banking is changing with customers increasingly choosing to conduct basic transactions through a digital platform and instead using branches for more in-depth conversations with staff’
Of course, this doesn’t take into account the idea that some transactions DO involve an in-depth conversation with staff. Instead, though, we will all be airily waved through the banking hall by Bank Waiters.
But what about the elderly, who would rather overdose on Senokot than deal with a machine? Well, you might have also heard of their ‘Digital Eagles’ project, which is pathetic in a way that only financial services blue sky thinking can be. They’ll also be encouraging old people to use technology so their jobs can become obsolete, too.
If they keep going like this, by this time next year Barclays won’t have the expense of paying any staff at all – which is presumably what they’re aiming for…
He SHAT IN THE BANK.
Staff and customers in Barclays in Andover, Hants, had to break out the Febreze after a ‘well-to-do’ man in his 40s entered the branch and er, made a deposit. Several large ones actually, all over the floor.
Customer Garreth McCarthy painted a vivid, yet amusing picture of the scene.
‘I wasn’t really paying attention until I noticed a foul, but unmistakable smell. I looked at the guy and he was just calmly walking around the bank – going to all the areas he could.
It’s quite clear what he was doing – he just had this calm but angry look on his face, as he walked around leaving special deposits on the floor. And then as calmly as he walked in he left. Staff didn’t know what on earth had just happened. The stench was unreal.’
An unreal dump strikes at the foul, rotten heart of commerce. Perfect. If anyone knows this man, send us an email, because we’d like to shake him by the hand. (After he’s washed them, obviously.)
The Daily Mirror have a darling little gallery of all the faeces, here.
And this time the Attorney General of New York State has weighed in on the bank. Eric Schneiderman and the state of NY have filed a lawsuit against them for giving an unfair advantage to high frequency, ‘predatory’ trading clients in the US – despite telling everyone else that they were trying to protect other customers against such traders.
‘Dark pool’ trading allows investors to trade without influencing the market.
Barclay’s dark pool system was called LX Liquidity Cross, and was supposedly set up to get customers the best possible prices for their shares. Instead, they – whaddya know? – maximised their own profits. Nearly all trading was done through LX, rather than through other exchanges that would have offered a better price.
‘Barclays grew its dark pool by telling investors they were diving into safe waters,’ Schneiderman said. ‘Barclays’ dark pool was full of predators – there at Barclays’ invitation.’
*cue theme from Jaws*
The cycle hire scheme – or Boris bikes, if you’re an infant – is looking for a company with £37.5 million going spare to sponsor them, after the initial sponsors Barclays end their five year support next year.
TfL require around £5.5 million annually over seven years for the right to plaster a company’s branding over the 10,000 bikes currently in operation across the capital.
So far, over 30 million journeys have been taken on the bikes, and seeing as there are docking stations popping up all over the shop, then it would be wise to sort something out. Ideally, maybe turn the bike scheme into something that can be used via Oyster travelcards would be quite good, seeing as it’s a total faff to hire one at its present state.
Barclays agreed to pay £5m annually to be the first sponsor for five years when it launched in July 2010. The bank’s new management (who sound LOVELY, incidentally) has decided not to extend its sponsorship beyond next summer.
TfL said it hoped to have a new sponsor in place by early 2015.
Boris barked: ”This is a unique opportunity for a commercial partner to put their stamp on a mode of London transport that is now as recognisable as our iconic black cabs and red buses. We are looking for a sponsor whose aspiration matches our own, one with the passion to take the scheme to the next level and get even more people pedalling.”
You can almost feel the spittle flying at you from that sentence.
Barclays’ unused three-year option to extend its sponsorship would have cost the bank an annual £8.3m (or at least two bonuses). TfL said £5.5m a year was the minimum it was asking for the new deal and that it hoped to get more because several companies had expressed an interest.
Shall we copper-up and see if we can get a Bitterwallet sponsorship? Bitterbikes anyone?
If you’re a Barclays’ customer who has been trying to do some online banking, you’ll know that their service seems to be down. Customers are unable to access their accounts and the mobile app isn’t working either.
The site has been showing a message that says: “5 – Sorry – Barclays Online Banking is currently unavailable.” If you hit ‘next’, you get an error message.
The site isitdownrightnow.com is showing that disruption is widespread too.
Of course, Barclays customers are taking to the internet to get angry about it, and as yet, there’s no word from Barclays themselves from their main account. The UK wing apologised yesterday for some app disruption, but it appears it has all gone awry again.
Looks like customers will have to wait ’til the morning for an answer or apology. Until then, Barclays customers are advised to complain direct to the company themselves, rather than complaining so everyone else can see it (that only ensures that people will think you deserve your financial predicament).
We’ll follow this up when we hear more.
Shopping is a lot like banking. You start the activity with some money, and at the end (of the month/shop) you have none left. You don’t remember planning to spend all your cash, but its disappears anyway. When you look at it like that, the latest strategic pairing between Barclays and Asda might seem to make sense.
Barclays have announced that 8 branches will move from a traditional bank premises into Asda stores in 2014. The branch to move will be the Birchwood shopping centre branch in Warrington, where services are due to move to a nearby Asda in February, followed by Albion Street, Broadstairs, Kent, Manor House Street, Pudsey, Leeds, and St Albans Road, Watford.
The benefits for Barclays are clear- they won’t have to pay for the overheads of the defunct branches, and Asda are presumably banking (arf arf) on the fact that it is impossible to just buy one thing in there, so people looking to make a deposit are likely to come out loaded with shopping rather than extra cash. But is there a benefit to the consumer?
Some are arguing that this is yet another blow to the high street, with Asda stores normally being located out of town centres, but Steve Cooper, Head of Barclays Retail and Business Bank said that customers are looking for a more convenient way of banking, somewhere they can park more easily.
The supermarket branches will also be open longer- although staff will only be there during normal banking hours, machines to allow withdrawals and deposits will be open during normal Asda hours, seven days a week. However, given these will not be processed until normal banking hours, this would be of limited benefit to those wanting their cash processed more quickly, but could be handy for those who struggle to get into a bank during normal hours.
But will it work? Moving Post Offices into WH Smith has had varying degrees of success and previous experiments of a similar ilk involving banks and supermarkets have not been successful. Lloyds tried it on with Asda between 1997 and 2002, while HSBC did something similar with Morrisons. All the outlets subsequently closed.
Nevertheless, both Asda and Barclays are excited about the prospect. Asda’s Karen Hubbard, said “this is the next step in the evolution of how we continue to make our stores relevant to our customers’ everyday needs, giving them access to banking services to use at their convenience – when they want, and how they want it.”
So is this what you want? Can you see yourself picking up a pound of butter when counting the pennies or would you rather a traditional hushed and carpeted branch? Are small businesses and pensioners going to be disadvantaged by out of town locations?
It’s not Santander! New figures released by the Financial Conduct Authority show that the most complained about bank between January and June 2013 was actually Barclays. Santander didn’t even come second, although they are in the top (bottom?) five.
The full details from the FCA reveal that 2.9 million consumer complaints were made to financial services firms during the first half of this year, which although high, is down by around half a million complaints from the previous six months. The second half of 2012 saw the highest number of complaints since records began being released in 2006.
The top five complained-about providers, who account for 44% of the total are as follows:
Barclays Bank Plc – opened 370,733 complaints (a fall of 11% since the second half of 2012). Of these 90% were closed in eight weeks, and 62% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
Lloyds TSB Bank Plc – opened 253,735 complaints (a fall of 27% since the second half of 2012). Of these, 90% were closed in eight weeks, and 62% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
MBNA Limited – opened 237,103 complaints (a fall of 12% since the second half of 2012). Of these, 93% were closed in eight weeks, and 36% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
Bank of Scotland Plc – opened 222,249 complaints (a fall of 34% since the second half of 2012). Of these, 97% were closed in eight weeks, and 45% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
Santander UK Plc – opened 198,736 complaints (a fall of 16% since the second half of 2012). Of these, 83% were closed in eight weeks, and 43% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
The things complained about were, unsurprisingly, topped by PPI.
Payment protection insurance (PPI) – 1,786,626 complaints opened (61% of new complaints).
Other general insurance – 313,860 complaints opened (11% of new complaints).
Current accounts – 280,711 complaints opened (10% of new complaints).
Credit cards – 164,134 complaints opened (6% of new complaints).
Savings (including cash ISAs) and other banking products – 97,733 complaints opened (3% of new complaints).
Our friends over at Which! were pleased to hear about the falls in complaints, but highlighted the fact that banks only have to report complaints which have not been resolved by close of business on the working day after they are received. Also, complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, where complaints fail to be resolved with the banks directly, were up by 179% in the first quarter of the financial year 2013/14 from the same period last year, with 159,197 new complaints lodged.
So does your bank take good care of you or is it just better at clearing complaints inside two days?
300,000 Barclays customers are set to get a little bonus after the bank admitted to making mistakes on the paperwork for thousands of personal loans. If there are errors in the paperwork, it’s the law that all interest should be paid back.
It’s going to cost Barclays around £100m to recify the mistakes, which go all the way back to 2008. The errors were mentioned in the bank’s annual results in February, and again in a recent prospectus, which stated that their ‘income declined 4% to £1,086m primarily due to provisions taken to remedy historical interest charges incorrectly applied to customers.’
A quivering guy in a suit from Barclays said:
‘Whilst no-one has been mis-sold to, customers are entitled to have their interest payments returned. No customer will pay more than they were ever contractually expected to.’
It’s the latest in a catalogue of catastrophic errors from the bank. As well as this, they did some dirty secret double dealing with investors from Qatar, and are facing a £50 million fine after making secret, under the table payments that didn’t appear on the books. They’re also paying back £290m for trying to manipulate Libor and doling out millions in compensation for mis-sold PPI and credit card insurance.
BAD BANK. GO TO YOUR ROOM.
It seems to be the week for data shenanigans. After news of the Post Offices shocking failings on Monday (underlying issue still not sorted last we heard), details are now emerging of a different kind of data sharing- this time by banking giant Barclays.
As reported by the Guardian, Barclays are sending letters out to its 13m personal banking customers informing them that their trusted friend and confidante Barclays is so short of cash (they recently reported a dreadful £1.8bn profit in the first three months of this year) that the bank is selling their personal details on to
the highest bidder interested third parties.
Of course, while reassuring customers that there is “nothing sinister” going on, and that data shared with third parties will all be anonymised and purely numerical, the letter also details what information on their customers Barclays is currently collecting. Apparently, as well as any interactions on Twitter and Facebook, their dossier on customers “may include images of you or recordings of your voice” as well as mobile location data for use in claims of fraud. So they are maintaining records on what you look like and where you live and work. That’s not sinister at all.
In a statement the bank said: “We only use information in a numerical, anonymised and aggregated way, as is standard practice at many companies. It is not about providing information for sales or marketing use and does not include any personal data.”
Barclays also denied ‘profiteering’ from customers claiming the new practice will be in line with industry guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office and the law. “Customers are always able to opt out of marketing activity and their personal data will never be passed on to anybody else without their explicit consent.”
However, in line with current snooping scandals loitering around Google and GCHQ like a bad smell, Barclays admitted that the data could be passed to government departments and MPs to give them an insight into what was happening in their constituency, for example.
The new use of your data will take effect from 9 October, unless you opt out.
Our good friend Barclays Bank has just bought some new customers. Not in the same way that they (allegedly) bought the LIBOR rate, rather instead they have bought the savings and mortgage business of Dutch bank ING.
Announced last night, the deal will see £10.9 billion (€13.4bn) of savings deposits and £5.6 billion of mortgages (€6.9bn) of ING Direct UK transferred to Barclays, who will eventually integrate these businesses in its UK Retail and Business Banking division.
“ING Direct UK operated in a very competitive market over the past years and I am proud of the excellent customer experience our UK team has built, as proven by the customer satisfaction scores. In Barclays we have found a company who will continue to provide the excellent service our approximately 1.5 million ING Direct customers in the UK have grown accustomed to,” said Jan Hommen, CEO of ING, a clearly much mistaken man. In the latest FSA figures, Barclays was third in the “most customer complaints” category, with 280,358 complaints opened in the first six months of the year.
But other than a potential cliff-drop of customer service, what else does this mean for ex-ING customers? ING launched ING Direct in 2003 with market-leading online savings deals, an area Barclays don’t much bother to compete in. While ING customers are guaranteed to keep current rates on transfer, it may be that rates fall over time as the business is integrated within Barclays own offering. However, since taking over Woolwich in 2000, Barclays mortgage offerings have been increasingly competitive, in line with the old Woolwich brand, so savers may yet find Barclays end up as a more attractive provider. Examples of current comparison rates, provided by Moneysupermarket.com are shown below.
Either way, there is nothing individual account holders can do to stymie the deal, unless they also happen to be significant shareholders in either company. Account holders will migrate to the Barclays when the deal completes next year, but any change in rates should be checked to see whether the deal is still competitive. And if not,do something about it.
One other point to mention is that once ING savings come under the Barclays umbrella, it is likely the savings protection will be covered by the FSCS under Barclays licence. This will mean you only get one lots of savings protection for any accounts held with either Barclays or ING, so if you have more than £85,000 in savings, what the hell are you reading Bitterwallet for?
Times are tough. In the 12 months to June, there were 35,456 bankruptcy orders in England and Wales alone, according to the Insolvency Service. Now, it is possible (and some would argue necessary) for an undischarged bankrupt* to get hold of a bank account, although this would have to be a basic type account, with no overdraft facility, no monthly fee and limited debit card capacity. However, while basic bank accounts are normally available to all, those available to undischarged bankrupts has now narrowed to a field of one.
Previously both Barclays and the Co-operative bank allowed bankrupts to take out an account, but after much corporate soul-searching, Co-op have decided to withdraw from the market, leaving these people without a choice of bank account provider. You could argue that beggars shouldn’t be blessed in the options department, but what happens if Barclays decline to offer you an account?
In this day and age, having a bank account is tantamount to a necessity. Many employers require salaries to be paid by credit transfer, and if you are scoffing at the thought of bankrupts with a job, the new Universal credit benefits system will also require a bank account for payment.
But Co-op are defending their right to remove themselves from the market. John Hughes, managing director of retail banking at the Co-op told the BBC: “Across the industry there has long been an un-level playing field in the provision of basic bank accounts, with our bank doing far more than most, and we have been calling for some time for this to be addressed.”
And you have to feel they have a point. Co-op, even with the new branches and customers purchased from Lloyds TSB do not have a 30% share in the retail banking market, but claim that 30% of their customers have been through some kind of insolvency proceeding, representing about two-and-a-half times its “natural market share”.
Robin Taylor, the Co-op’s head of banking, told BBC News that a lot of people who were made bankrupt were already with a bank and should therefore be supported by the institution they were previously with. He also wants every major bank to take a share of the remainder.
So are (most of) the banks, Co-op included, being unfair? Surely taking on a bankrupt, particularly one who has already gone bad on you, must seem like throwing good money after bad to the banks, institutions more widely known for maximising shareholder profits than customer satisfaction. Unusually Barclays appear to be the hero of the blacklisted- is this suitable penance for their less-than-savoury shenanigans of recent times? Does anyone even care?
* a bankrupt is normally undischarged for 12 months following the bankruptcy order.
Colin Miller got his application for a Barclays personalised photo card turned down because he looks too much like Pavarotti. Or Demis Roussos. Or just about any balding tubby man with a beard.
Anyway, staff thought he didn’t own the copyright to his own face and told him to sling his large hook.
“I was shocked,” said Colin. “I can’t help who I look like. I don’t try to look like him. I have had no cosmetic surgery and I don’t try to do things to myself to look like him. I am being penalised for looking how I do.”
He doesn’t do things to himself to try and look like Pavarotti, apart from dressing up exactly like Pavarotti and getting paid to be a Pavarotti lookalike.
Anyone smell a publicity stunt by his agent at the lookalike firm? And he still looks more like Demis Roussos.
Looks as though Barclays have hastily cobbled together a new advert in which lanky mirth-giver Stephen Merchant contritely explains just what it is that their naughty, LIBOR-tampering staff members have been up to over the past few years.
Either that or it’s some trickery from online funnyman Michael Spicer…