05-20-2008, 03:53 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Barclays bank snubs safari company
This article speaks for itself:
My partner and I are ex pat Brits living in South Africa. We own, run and operate a safari company selling both photo and hunting safaris in a variety of African countries. The hunting that we offer is all part of the game management programmes & policies run by the various African Game Departments. We willingly make regular contributions to local populations to help develop their local communities, we supply the meat taken during the hunts to the local populations, who are in great need of protein, we provide work and training to local populations and all of our hunting takes place under the strictest possible principles of fair chase. All animals taken are taken in accordance with and prior licencing by, the Confederation of International Trade in Endangered Species where required. Our photo safaris also make regular contributions to local communities and clinics etc and also provide employment, education and training to many locals. Our business and hunting ethics are always above reproach.
I have banked with Barclays Bank for the last thirty five years or so without incident or complaint. All of our business is conducted in US Dollars as this is the standard currency of the African hunting industry. I have always used a personal USD account for business banking, because Barclays were always unable to provide me with a debit card for a business account and I did this at their suggestion and with their full knowledge and co-operation. Barclays still permit and indeed, encourage clients to use personal accounts for business where they consider it appropriate.
In January 2008, Barclays asked me to change to a business USD account and explained they were now able to provide debit cards on these accounts. Fine I thought, it’ll make life easier for me. My only requirements for this account were that we could have internet banking facilities, 2 debit (NOT credit) cards and we had no requirement for an overdraft of any kind. – In other words, perfectly normal, standard banking practices with no risk to them.
When I began the process, of opening the account, Barclays suddenly changed their attitude, and told me they ‘are unable to offer banking facilities to my company, because the nature of my business doesn't fit the criteria of Barclays Wealth Business Acceptance Policy’.
They repeatedly refused to send me a copy of their acceptance policy stating ‘Unfortunately, we cannot disclose the criteria of our Business Acceptance Policy, as there would be an open possibility of manipulation’. When my friend who is an attorney at law in the USA asked them the same question, they didn’t even bother to reply to him. – To date, Barclays are making it virtually impossible for me to obtain a bankers reference and nor will they reply to my enquiry about whether their actions will affect my credit rating.
I repeatedly asked them for a reason for their refusal to provide me with a business account and was always given the same reply. I further asked them (several times) if it was because we were a hunting company and they pointedly ignored the question, and simply kept giving me the same reply of ‘ we are unable to offer banking facilities to your company, because the nature of your business doesn't fit the criteria of Barclays Wealth Business Acceptance Policy’. – Our business practice dictates that there are very few small transactions, and only a fairly limited number of large transactions going through the account. To me, this would suggest that our account would be a lot easier for them to supervise than a shop selling multiple low cost items such as a sports shop or a supermarket for example. Therefore, I can only assume that the reason they refuse to provide me with a business banking service is that (in their words) they disapprove of the nature of my business (which is hunting) and/or hunting in general.
In March 2008, Barclays Private Clients International Ltd wrote to me and gave me one months notice that they were going to close all my accounts held with them including my personal accounts. By the time their letter which was sent surface mail, arrived in Africa, I had just 12 banking days left to make the changes. – Needless to say, an impossible task. When I asked for an extension, they very reluctantly gave me a further week, but as that was over the Easter weekend, it actually gave me only three more banking days. Only after a degree of pressure from my friend who is an attorney at law in America, did they cave in and grant me a more reasonable extension of time.
I have now opened accounts elsewhere and will now bank with a company that is driven by ethical business practice and not by the insanity of political correctness. We also refuse to accept payment from any Barclays source. I would urge any and all hunters, shooters, field sportsmen and even those who don’t follow those pursuits but agree that I’ve been treated unjustly and who bank with Barclays or any of their related companies to contact their bank and ask them for an explanation of their acceptance and business policies (for example, Barclays own shares in ABSA Bank in South Africa) with especial regard to hunting & shooting etc and then decide for themselves whether they want to continue banking with them. If they decide to terminate their business relationship with Barclays or Barclays related companies, please tell them your reasons for doing so.
Alternatively, write a letter or an e-mail of protest to Barclays and/or ABSA etc, telling them that your sport is perfectly justifiable and ask what right they have to disapprove of a perfectly ethical, acceptable, legitimate and lawful activity. You could also explain that if hunting did not take place in Africa, the game populations would be in serious decline and would eventually die out, as is currently happening in countries such as Kenya which has lost over 60% of it’s game populations since they banned hunting in the 1970s.
I’d also ask you that if you agree with my objection to this example of political correctness gone mad, that you forward this e-mail to every hunter, shooter, field sportsman, firearms manufacturer or hunting/shooting organization, you know and ask them in turn, to pass it on. If you’re a member of any hunting or shooting related internet forum etc, please feel free to post this message there, if you know of any hunting magazines etc that might be interested in publishing this letter, please also send it to them.
Whilst I was researching this letter and Barclays Bank, I also discovered that Barclays Bank and ABSA are reported to be spending over 50 million pounds every year in support of the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe where the Matebele people suffered genocide from the Zimbabwe military and many more millions are now starving. You might like to do a Google search on the phrase ‘Barclays Bank (or ABSA Bank) and Robert Mugabe’ to discover more about how they are investing your money in such a murderous regime. I find it astounding that on the one hand, Barclays Bank will refuse to do business with a company that sells perfectly legitimate hunting that supports and feeds local populations and yet on the other hand spends millions of pounds supporting one of the most corrupt regimes in the world that regularly uses torture, murder and starvation as a tool to dominate its people. The hypocrisy of this is simply staggering.
We probably won’t force these conglomerates to change their policies, but with your help, I’m sure that we can make life uncomfortable for them in many ways.
Yours in hunting,
Director & Principal Professional Hunter
Kuduland Safaris (Africa) Ltd