#ByeBarclays flashmob descends on bank

#ByeBarclays flashmob descends on bank

As disgraced former Barclays chief Bob Diamond prepares to face a grilling from MPs over the Libor scandal, a flashmob has descended on one of the bank's London branches, with members withdrawing their money en masse.

The flashmob has been organised via Twitter and Facebook by the 'move your money UK' organisation, which is calling on Brits to abandon the big high street banks in favour of more 'ethical' alternatives such as credit unions, building societies and the Co-op.

Using the #ByeBarclays hashtag, the flashmob made its way to Barclays' branch in Victoria Street armed with banners denouncing the bank:

Many of the protesters carried posters based on a template from the group's Facebook page:

In a blog post on its Web site, the group says: "The last couple of weeks have confirmed what we already knew: the banking system isn't working for us.

"We want to send a strong message to Barclays and the other big banks that we no longer trust them with our money, and that four years after the banking crisis, we won't leave it to the politicians to solve this mess.

"We will be withdrawing our money from the bank to show that we don't trust them with our savings, and covering the bank with our messages to the bankers and politicians."

You can watch a video of the event here.

A separate group of protesters, waiting to welcome Diamond ahead of his appearance before the Treasury select committee, has been snapped by Channel Four News's Faisal Islam:

Today's actions mark an escalation in the 'move your money UK' efforts, which has been up and running since the beginning of the year, asking people to pledge to ditch their providers. This is not the first time the group has targeting Barclays; in April it filmed a piece to coincide with the bank's AGM:

Yesterday Nationwide Building Society claimed that it has seen a 26% week-on-week rise in the number of account opening as Brits express their anger at Barclays over Libor and RBS over its recent IT meltdown. The Co-op and other mutuals are also reporting a surge in new customers.

A spokesman for the Building Society's Association says: "It is clear from speaking to many of our members that the number of customer enquires they are getting has risen substantially in the past week or so. While it's impossible to be absolute, the rise in consumer interest we are already seeing is up to 30% above normal levels. In addition, some members are already reporting a jump in account openings."

Move your money UK owes a debt to last year's Facebook-organised Bank Transfer Day in the US, which saw thousands of people move to credit unions. That event was started by Kristen Christian, a 27-year-old art gallery owner from Los Angeles, in response to Bank of America's plan to introduce a monthly $5 debit card fee - a move quickly abandoned.

Credit Unions in the States reported hundreds of thousands of new customers last year as anger at traditional lenders peaked. A new report from Javelin Strategy & Research suggests that the impetus that built up during the Autumn has not died down, with 11% of Americans thinking about switching provider this year.

Comments: (2)

Gary Wright
Gary Wright 04 July, 2012, 12:05Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is a understandable action but mob rule is not the answer. Bringing Barclays to its knees will hurt more people than we can ever count and we need to keep calm and let the law take over. I am sure new laws will be introduced in time but in the interum we all must curb our anger 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 July, 2012, 12:521 like 1 like

A peaceful demonstration. Nothing to see here other than customers using the only avenue available to them when they are unhappy with a service provider. Move to another one.

What will hurt Barclays the most is the brand damage. This protest in itself wont hurt Barclays but the wider customer perception will hurt sales.

Typically UK Bank Customers have *not* moved their accounts because of the perceived (and sometimes very real) problems in swapping from one provider to another. Maybe that is changing with a new breed of customer who are more willing to change banks based on values they want to see displayed by their service provider.

Lets just hope that the new providers dont make the same mistakes as the big four/five.