June 2024

Is Bob Diamond (Head of Barclays) a liar and a thief?

I recently had two revealing experiences with Barclays. First, I was in a branch waiting to see the manager when I overheard two Barclays “financial advisers” (salesmen) laughing and joking about what they were going to say to a pensioner who had just lost almost half his life savings after being encouraged by Barclays to put the money in a supposedly “cautious” fund (probably the disastrous Aviva Cautious Fund which was far from cautious). The results were pretty serious for the pensioner but utterly hilarious to the Barclays staff who had conned the poor sod into risking and losing his savings. Secondly, I put some money in a 2-year fixed interest bond with Barclays. As I would be away when the bond matured, I went into my Barclays branch with written instructions about what I wanted done with the money. Three weeks before maturity Barclays contacted me and tried to persuade me to leave my money with them. I refused. Sure enough, when the bond matured, there was no sign of my money. At first Barclays tried to claim I had never invested with them – but I had the documentation. Then they tried to claim my letter with my instructions had got lost in the post –  but I delivered it by hand. Barclays then said that the destination account number I had given them was wrong – that was a lie too. Then Barclays tried many more tactics, like saying it could take weeks to find my money, all designed to prevent me getting my money. When I showed all their attempts to keep my money were lies, they finally relented and paid up. But when I asked for compensation, some arrogant shit at Barclays wrote saying that Barclays “refused to get into any further correspondence about the matter”. These are just two incidents, but they are probably repeated hundreds of thousands of times each year as Barclays staff try to increase the bank’s profits by taking as much customers’ money as they can.

Bob Diamond, Head of Barclays, has given interviews where he has said bankers can be “cuddly”, banks have “to be better citizens” and “have to balance being responsible with being competitive”. But while he cries huge crocodile tears in public, as far as I can see he actively promotes business practices within Barclays Bank that are little short of outright fraud and theft. So is Bob Diamond a liar and a thief? I know what I think.

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