Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence

Further memorandum submitted by Barclays Bank

  Following the Treasury Select Committee, I would like to provide some additional information that I hope will give you a sense of the context behind the recent media comment about our business banking activities in Scotland.

  First and most important, I can confirm that Barclays is committed to Scotland and does not intend to withdraw from the Scottish SME market, despite the media reports to the contrary.

  Barclays currently has more than eight hundred customers in the country who fall within our larger, medium and smaller business segments and who are served by teams based in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Kelso and Edinburgh. A new head of Barclays Business Banking in Scotland, Rikki Griffiths, is due to start on the 1 July.

  Regarding the recent media coverage, it is true that one of our Relationship Managers in Scotland contacted three business customers asking them to move their banking arrangements elsewhere. He gave as his reason that we were exiting one specific sector of the market on his retirement from the Bank. It is fair to say that the letter written to two of these customers was a poorly worded description of the changes to our overall service.

  As you would expect, we continually review our service propositions and refine them to provide the best combination of products and services to meet our customers' requirements. On deciding to introduce changes to our service, we successfully transferred the great majority of our customers to alternative propositions that we provide. However, in the case of these three customers, we did not believe that we could meet their requirements to an acceptable standard and therefore concluded that it was in their best interest that they move to an alternative supplier. We stated then and confirm now that we will work closely with these three customers to effect a smooth transfer to a new bank.

  We are committed to all the customers we serve and seek always to offer high standards of service in meeting their needs. Whenever we change our offering, we work closely with the customers affected to ensure that any transition is as smooth as possible.

  I hope that this provides some further background to the question raised yesterday.

27 May 2002

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