A PENSIONER has told how he was left with no money after his bank account was closed “without warning” by Barclays.
Clive Sparks, 73, was furious when his family business was thrown into ‘chaos’ after Barclays suddenly announced it was to close the account after 85 years.
Despite a flurry of phone calls and form-filling Barclays shut the account after just 14 days.
The move left his firm struggling to pay builders and provide a means for tenants to pay their rent.
Mr Sparks, of Seaford, East Sussex has condemned a culture of cost-cutting in banking and demanded an explanation from the bank.
He said: “It’s a disgrace. My family firm has banked with Barclays for 85 years so to shut down the account without an explanation or any proper notice is just crazy. I just don’t know why they did it.
MORE ON BANKS
Full list of bank branches closing in December – will your local disappear?
Thousands can get £220 free cash direct to bank accounts – do you qualify?
“My sister, Judy, and I were furious as it left a lot of people in the lurch and we had to try and sort out a lot of problems as a result.
“Everything was in chaos In the end I was forced to open a business account with an online bank just so we could sort things out.”
His family firm, Allan & Atwood Ltd has traded since 1938 using Barclays for all their banking needs.
The company manages a small property portfolio in Plymouth and Birmingham which it rents out to tenants.
Most read in Money
HOLIDAYS ARE COMING
Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour dates revealed – is it coming to you?
Cadbury fans scream ‘yes please’ to new Mini Egg flavour hitting the shelves
Fears Christmas could be ruined this year due to shortage of dinner must-haves
My easy morning routine to prevent mould in your home costs just 55p
The first inclination that something was amiss came when his sister had a call from a property agency saying they could not pay rental income from their tenants into their business account.
When Mr Sparks called the bank to find out why he was told he needed to fill in some new documents.
But then in September, the bank wrote to say it was going to close the account in a fortnight.
Mr Sparks immediately called them and, after being passed from department to department, he was told there was nothing wrong with the account and it was a mystery as to why it was being shut down.
He explained: “No-one could explain what the problem was and why they suddenly felt impelled to close the account.
“When I told them I needed access to the £7,000 that was in the account Barclays told me they’d send me a cheque to Allan & Atwood. I asked them what good that would be if I wasn’t able to put it into a bank account. I just can’t believe the idiocy.”
He said several of his colleagues have also experienced the sudden closure of their business accounts in recent months,
Mr Sparks said: “It’s endemic. There seems to be a huge number of people affected by this move among banks to shut down accounts they don’t like. It is very, very worrying.”
Have you had bank trouble? Email [email protected]
He said: “Ours is quite a small family business bringing in just £18,000 a year and I feel Barclays probably had a look at it and realised it wasn’t making them a huge amount of money and they decided to close it.
“The new culture in banking – where everything is done online and all the banks are shutting – is so counter-productive. It doesn’t work properly and is not fit for purpose.
“People need face-to-face contact so their personal financial circumstances can be properly understood. The decision-making and the software that banks now rely on doesn’t work.”
Mr Sparks and his sister have now been forced to set up an online business account with Monzo.
He has asked Barclays for a full explanation into why the account was just down and the bank has launched an inquiry.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR ACCOUNT IS SHUT
It’s important to try to find out if there are any problems that might have triggered the closure.
For example, it might be that crooks have stolen your identity and applied for loans in your name.
Start by running a free credit check through a service like moneysavingexpert.com’s Credit Club, Credit Karma or Clearscore.
It’s best to try all three if you’re concerned in order to cover the three main credit agencies that keep records of your financial dealings.
The reports should help you spot if there are any accounts that you don’t recognise.
If you’re worried that your account might have been flagged as suspicious, you can also apply to two fraud-fighting organisations — Cifas and National Hunter — to find out what information they hold on you.
Again, when you write, say that you would like to make a “subject access request”.
He said: “They have told me they will look into it but it will take around eight-weeks to get an answer. I’m intrigued by what they’re going to say.”
A Barclays spokesperson said: “As part of our ongoing responsibility to help prevent financial crime, and to meet our regulatory obligations, we are required to keep up to date information regarding our customers’ accounts.
“In this case, after 18 months of repeated attempts to contact the customer, including through online banking, email and post, we did not receive all of the necessary information relating to their Barclays Business account, leaving us no alternative but to close the account.
“We fully understand the issues this can cause customers and we worked hard to avoid the last resort of account closure. As a gesture of goodwill we have offered to re-open their account to allow more time for the information to be shared, which has been declined.”
Source: Read Full Article