ANGRY campaigners bricked up the front door of a Bournemouth bank on Sunday in protest at the banking industry’s attitude towards customers and businesses.
Watched by a group of cheering onlookers, and with passing motorists sounding their horns in support, the three local men stacked concrete bricks in front of the entrance to Barclays in Westbourne.
The men, who call themselves the Recessionairs, said they picked Barclays, Westbourne, at random and their protest is aimed at the entire industry.
The two property developers and one pensioner all said they had had enough with banks refusing to lend to businesses, calling in overdrafts and paying punitive interest rates on savings while charging higher rates on loans.
Bournemouth developer Cameron Hope, 59, who organised the protest said: “The situation has been bad for 18 months but it’s getting worse every single week.
“The bankers will still be getting their bonuses but we’re getting nothing, except for cripplingly high charges. Enough is enough.”
He claimed banks had refused him money for new developments and had tried to charge him a £7,000 fee when he asked to borrow £40,000 on a property he owns.
Friend Les Dawson, 66, said: “I wanted to support him because the attitude of the banks has a massive effect on my retirement nest egg. I’m getting no interest on my money and at this rate I’m going to have to keep working until I’m 80.
“Somebody’s got to say something. We’re all too apathetic in this country, we need to be a bit more like France.
“We’re not here for a jape, we’re here to bring a serious problem to people’s attention.”
And Charlie Townsend, 49, a developer from Poole, said: “Everybody I’ve spoken to agrees with us, the situation is now beyond a joke. Politicians have talked tough but nothing has changed. In fact it’s worse. We own these banks but they can still charge £30 for a letter. It’s madness.”
After barricading the door, the three men hung placards saying: “Robbed by the banks we own”, “Now the banks are lending even less”, “Halifax charged £500 for a £24 debt” and “Make the banks lend”.
Mr Hope said: “These are all headlines from national papers. Everybody knows the situation is crazy but nobody’s doing anything.”
Staff and customers today will notice no difference at the bank.
Shortly after the three men completed bricking up the door, two police officers attended and asked them to remove their protest.
The British Bankers’ Association has recently insisted its members were doing their best to help small firms.
A spokesperson said: “The UK’s banks have established a taskforce to report to the government on exactly this issue – addressing how banks can further help small businesses through the recovery.
“We absolutely agree with the government that small businesses are vital to securing the economic recovery and have committed to offering every assistance to viable businesses.”