3 Aug 2016 – NRA chief exec Andrew Mercer advised rifle clubs not to worry about Barclays Bank demanding copies of club FACs and Home Office Approval letters – while the British Shooting Sports Council said they had no legal grounds to do so.
In the last NRA bulletin, issued a few weeks before the Imperial Meeting, Mercer said: “I have spoken at length with Barclays; they are long-standing bankers to the NRA and some 300 of our rifle clubs and are keen to reiterate their continued support for our sector.”
He continued: “Barclays are engaged in a current round of [Know Your Customer] screening and have completed the exercise with over 100 of our clubs; the questions raised include asking if the club is Home Office Approved (which if answered yes results in a request for a copy of the Home Office authority) and whether the club owns firearms (which if answered yes results in a request for the copy of the FAC).”
Meanwhile, the NSRA published a statement from David Penn, secretary of the British Shooting Sports Council, which said: “I am advised that Barclays, or any other financial institution, have no legal grounds to demand such information.”
The NSRA further described the cold calls from Barclays Bank employees as “disturbing” and advised members never to give out information over the phone.
It is thought the Barclays initiative started with a single mid-level manager who apparently decided that rifle clubs represented some sort of risk to the bank, and used this bizarre train of thought to justify asking clubs to supply personal information about their members and full copies of firearm certificates. However, the NRA insisted – contrary to a number of forum posts from people known personally to UK Shooting News’ author, and who have no reason to lie – that this was simply not happening.
“Barclays have confirmed they have no interest in the membership of the club (save those in official roles and/or named on the bank mandate) or security arrangements of the firearms,” said Mercer. “We suggest that if requested clubs provide a copy of the front page of the FAC; the bank have no interest in the number and type of firearms licensed.”
After a recent burst of traffic to UKSN from the NSRA, who seem to have linked to UKSN’s homepage but not previous stories about Barclays’ fishing expeditions, and from relevant search traffic, it appears that the bank may have re-started its fishing expeditions. UKSN’s author’s security advice on what to do if they ring you can be found here, with the original story here.