Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Barclays Has Failed to Be a Friend in Deed for Me

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

How Barclays Has Failed to Be a Friend in Deed for Me

Article excerpt

Byline: GEORGE WALDEN

George Walden has been left far from impressed with the bank after a lengthy chase for the papers proving he owns his house SOME FIVE years ago I paid off my Barclays mortgage. A nice feeling, except that two years later it dawned on me I had no deeds, or any proof that I owned my house.

I rang the mortgage department of my branch at Westminster. No reply. I left a message. No reply. I wrote asking if I could kindly have my deeds back. No reply.

As a Premier Banking Service customer I rang my "relationship manager" to explain that I was not at all happy about the state of our relations and to ask for help.

And help the lady did, to the extent of sending me the Land Registry document, and telling me, in a tone of magnanimity, they had lifted the charge.

Since I had owed them nothing for several years, I was miserly with my thanks. Also, I wanted not just the Land Registry document, which they should have sent me automatically, I wanted the original deeds, without which the bank would never have given me a mortgage in the first place.

Though it was not her fault I fear I was a trifle brusque. It is curious how uncharitable the home-owning English feel towards people who mislay the title deeds to their main asset. I needed those deeds urgently, I said, or an explanation of why Barclays no longer has them.

No progress. Then, a year-and-a-half ago, I received a letter from Mike Brophy, head of Barclays Customer Service, who had taken over the problem "due to the serious nature of the issue". "Serious" I liked, it reassured me - prematurely.

Some six months later, I was favoured with a second letter saying their searches had so far got nowhere. This time, however, the tone was subtly different, suggesting the bank had been under the impression I was satisfied with the Land Registry document they had belatedly sent me, while admitting the "unique" nature of the documents and their sentimental value. …

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