9 Aug 2016 – Barclays Bank threatened to terminate banking services to a rifle club if the club committee did not send copies of the club FAC to the bank, a letter seen by UK Shooting News reveals.
The letter, shown to UKSN by a concerned club member, details how the bank threatened to close the account with 6 weeks’ notice unless sensitive documents were sent to named bank employees.
Worryingly, a followup letter confirms that the Barclays fishing expeditions were being led by just three female staff – one of whom worked from home.
A Barclays employee claimed to the club that one of the trio had apparently contacted her local police station and been told it was OK for the bank to collect and store copies of FACs, revealing the names and addresses of firearm owners to anyone with access to the documents.
The employee also suggested handing paper copies of the club “firearms licence” over to a local branch, which would forward it to the trio of managers.
UKSN was unable to authenticate two of the identities given in the letter through basic Google and Linkedin searches – normally reliable indicators for people working in the finance sector – though an ink signature, a name and a mobile phone number are given for the third person.
The NRA told clubs there was nothing to worry about and to comply with the bank’s demands.
A lightly redacted copy of the letter from Barclays is presented below. The initials are left in the clear so other clubs who have received similar demands from named people are able to compare notes.
Below is the letter the club sent in return.
The club said it would make a complaint to the ombudsman if the bank closed their account without responding to the above questions.
UKSN’s security tips for clubs facing inappropriate questions from outside bodies can be found here.