I have two bank accounts with Barclays Bank. One is a business account and the other is a personal account.
But the conduct of some Barclays personnel has led me to consider closing both of those accounts.
Two of these Barclays employees have acted with such bewildering bigotry and extreme prejudice that they have compounded the sense of threat that I live with every day as a member of the Black Minority Ethnic (BME) community bracing for the belligerent, buccaneering British prime minister Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit.
The matter is currently with the Financial Ombudsman. Following is an extract of my complaint to that financial industry watchdog. I share these and other details of my Brexodus (Brexiting Britain) journey pursuant to my own cathartic writing and publishing processes and for the benefit of others in both the BME and wider, White British society who might find themselves in similar circumstances.
Summary of my complaint
On July 5th 2019 I was bullied by a Barclays branch manager in Norfolk into accepting a dismissive, insulting monetary settlement for a complaint I had raised with that bank.
Having started out as a conciliatory conversation that made me feel heard and validated, my approximately 20 minute interaction with the Barclays Bank manager deteriorated into a deeply denigrating, intimidating experience.
The profound humiliation I felt at the time was reinforced by the presence of one of the branch manager’s subordinates, for whom the manager may have been “performing”, in a manner similar to the behavior of the disgraced former British soldier Andrew Blackman.
Mr Blackman, known as “Marine A” achieved notoriety when he summarily executed a wounded, defenseless enemy combatant in a grotesque show of “bravado” for two of his marine subordinates.
The manager’s excessively assertive, Marine-A-mimicking behavior unfolded when I requested some time to think, after she asked me to put a monetary figure on the inconvenience, anxiety and distress I had suffered because of some of her call center colleagues’ negligence.
Her colleagues had basically given me very bad advice leading to me not having card access to my bank account just as I was about to take my daughter on a four hour trip, to compete in a cheer leading competition.
I had already explained that I expected to be refueling my car at least once during the trip, so I would need card access to my money for that reason.
Dismissing my request for more time, the Norfolk branch manager refused me the opportunity to reflect on what I had gone through.
Asserting that Barclays has a standard quantum of compensation that they award in the circumstances, she left me with the impression that if I did not accept her offer, no compensation was available.
I therefore reluctantly accepted her offer on that basis.
However, as I reflected on her conduct over the next few days, I became increasingly dismayed at the way she had spoken to and treated me.
I felt prejudged and treated with disdain – like the vulnerable, wounded man that Blackman killed.
And if my comparison of the treatment I suffered with that of someone who was brutally killed seems extreme, think about what daily life can be like for a child victim of rape or a similarly “walking wounded” individual whose efforts to obtain justice are being persistently derailed and frustrated by people in positions of authority (police, politicians, journalists, religious clerics, for example).
I felt that despite asking me what I thought would be fair monetarily, the bank manager had assessed my worth and was determined to impose a settlement based on her own limited knowledge and value judgement.
I therefore raised the matter with Barclays via their Twitter customer service on Sunday, July 7th.
And as I informed the Financial Ombudsman earlier today, in my lay law opinion, the branch manager’s behavior may even amount to fraud by abuse of position or criminal negligence.
This opinion was strengthened by subsequent interaction with a Barclays level 2 complaint handler.
After explaining to that Barclays employee that if I had been allowed time to think, I probably would have sought to engage the bank in a mutually respectful and beneficial process, in line with the “Technologies Of Trust” project that I had already introduced to Barclays marketing department last year, that complaints handler accused me of trying to bribe the bank.
Could there have been a more poisonous, communication polluting characterization of my efforts to be conciliatory and constructive?
Is the concept of an articulate, intelligent and authentically generous spirited Black man so alien to Barclays?
Who is Barclays Bank confusing me with?
Is there some information in the data that Barclays holds about me that might justify that level 2 complaints handlers’ characterization of my “Technologies of Trust project as an exercise in bribery?
What could justify that characterization of a project I was hoping to collaborate with Barclays marketing department on as criminal enterprise, and me a fraud?
Why would Barclays pollute the the “oxygen of publicity” I sought to share with it?
To be continued…