Barclays closes account of 85 year old Seaford small business

Barclays have closed the account of a Seaford business who had been customers for 85 years.
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Clive Sparks, from Seaford, is the accountant for Allan and Atwood Limited. He says that Barclays has closed their company account "without explanation” as to how or why the decision was made.

The company – incorporated in 1938 – buys then rents flats and houses to private individuals in England. It was started by Clive’s great aunt and passed down to him and his sister.

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In a letter to The Telegraph, Clive said: “The best the bank says it can do is to carry out an inquiry, which will take up to eight weeks. If a mistake has been made, we might then be able to open a new account. Barclays says it will send us a cheque, made payable to the company, which we will have no means of banking unless we can open a new company account. In the meantime, our tenants can’t pay their rent and we can’t pay suppliers, including builders who are being engaged to carry out much-needed work.”

The Directors of Allan and Atwood Limited, Judi & Clive SparksThe Directors of Allan and Atwood Limited, Judi & Clive Sparks
The Directors of Allan and Atwood Limited, Judi & Clive Sparks

Clive added: “The closure of the Barclays accounts meant we can’t pay anyone or collect rents. It’s a small business with 2 properties let to private individuals. Both properties need maintenance plus there are regular outgoings.”

Clive has recently managed to open a new company account, costing him hours of work to get through all the compliance. According to Clive, Barclays are sending him bank statements for the closed account and a cheque for the balance of funds.

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.”