Barclays Bank have launched a new self-exclusion feature for problem gamblers on their accounts. The biggest and first bank from the high street to do so, Ken Scott seems reluctant to applaud the banking behemoth for its initiative.
Cashing in is probably the best way to describe Barclays Bank’s somewhat opportunistic announcement to launch a self-exclusion feature on its accounts.
The fact that they’ve introduced one is not at issue – the fact that they’ve waited so long is. They’re too late to this SR party – they could and should have done it ages ago.
The banks have always held the key to limiting financial issues arising from problem gambling. Their failure to act sooner has left the entire gaming industry taking the hit full on. Tackling problem gambling is and always has been a collective responsibility from the individual, to the gambling industry, through to the financial institutions.
The issue at heart is that banks have such a poor record on social responsibility in our sector and yet no-one seems to take them to task. They can see a problem gambler a mile off – their intrusive and overbearing access to an individual’s finances are put to quick and extensive use when they want you to sign up to a loan, a mortgage, a credit card,insurance – virtually everything that’s of commercial benefit to them. But when it comes to problem gambling, they’ve turned a blind eye.
But then Barclays always have. They jumped into bed with the Premier League and had no qualms when the 20 clubs had betting companies as sponsors. They had no problem attending and exhibiting at gaming shows when they saw the opportunity to pick up new business.
They want the benefits of the multi-billion pound gambling industry but none of the responsibilities.
But all of a sudden, Barclays have discovered a conscience.
Strange that they didn’t when the last financial crash happened.On that occasion,and for many years after, they hounded small businesses and ordinary folk to pay back loans;they reduced overdrafts and strangled people’s finances;they increased their own interest rates, hiked up credit card rates and charged PPI.
This is a bank,among many it has to be said, that now believes in social responsibility.
Bollocks.It’s a bank.It’s an opportunist that cares for nothing but itself.
No. There’s no applause for this jump on the SR bandwagon. It wouldn’t know social responsibility if someone slit their wrists on the steps of one of its branches.
We hear a lot of terrible things bandied around on problem gambling;suicides and lives ruined.And these instances are true,though nowhere near as widespread as some people want us to believe.
But how many suicides and how many lives were ruined at the hands of Barclays and other high street banks during the financial crisis?
A lot more,probably – and there were no Tracey Crouch’s at the office of hypocrisy stepping down from their posts back then citing matters of principle.
Sometimes, you just have to name hypocrisy when you see it.
Social responsibility is the key phrase for 2019.It’s not a bandwagon and it’s about time that institutions like Barclays stepped up to the plate and took their own responsibilities within this industry seriously.