Barclays blasts industry for ‘pushing debt’

Barclays Bank has broken rank to attack the financial services industry for irresponsible marketing and encouraging unsustainable debt levels.

Barclays consumer finance director Frederic Nze says the industry has been guilty of pushing a message that credit has never been cheaper. He also says Barclays will cut back on direct mail, claiming that it is less effective. “We are the only industry that alienates consumers with our direct mail,” he says.

Nze says consumers have become accustomed to the promotions and simply move balances from one company to another. He claims the era of companies competing on price, such as new entrant Egg, is at an end.

However, Nze admits that current Barclays promotions such as the “0 per cent balance transfers to Barclaycard” could look as though they are encouraging people into debt. He says Barclays marketing literature will focus on financial education and the bank will provide detailed explanations and advice for people refused credit.

Barclays’ below-the-line work is handled by Fox Murphy, McCann-Erickson, EHS Brann, The Forward Group and Tequila.

Last month, rival Abbey National announced the appointment of Lord Waheed Alli and Vittorio Radice to a new “consumer board” under newly appointed customer propositions director Angus Porter.

The Government is expected to overhaul consumer credit legislation.


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