Barclays plc is a British Multinational financial services and investment bank with its headquarters based in London, England. The bank’s origins could be traced back to the goldsmith banking business which was established in the city of London in the 1990s. As of 2020 the bank has a reported £1.34 trillion in assets and currently employs around 83,500 individuals. Barclays is organized into 4 core businesses aside from investment banking. These businesses are corporate banking, personal banking, investment management and wealth management.
James Barclay became a partner in the goldsmith banking business in 1736. In 1896 Barclay became a partner in several banks in London and in other English provinces including Gurney’s Bank, Backhouse’s Bank and Goslings Bank. They were all united as a joint stock bank under the name Barclays and Co. Over the decades that have followed Barclays has expanded to become a nationwide bank. 1967 was the year that Barclay deployed the world’s first cash dispenser.
They have acquired many other banks including London, south Western and Provincial bank in 1918, British Linen Bank in 1919 and the Woolwich in 2000 along with Lehman Brothers in 2008. Barclays plc is primarily listed on the London Stock Exchange and the corporation is also a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Barclay has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange and it is considered a systemically important bank by the Financial Stability Board.
A 2011 paper was of the opinion that Barclays was the most powerful transactional corporation in terms of ownership and because of this it is also the top dog in the market in terms of corporate control over global financial stability and market competition. Axa and State Street Corporation hold the second and third spots respectively. The corporation is involved in many projects in the UK like the Barclays Premier League and other projects from around the world.
The early beginnings of Barclays Plc
The beginnings of Barclays can be traced to as far back as the 17 of November 1690 when John Freame , a Quaker and Thomas Gould started trading as goldsmith bankers on Lombard Street, London. The name “Barclays” would not become associated with the business until 1736. It was the year that the son in law of Freame would become a partner of the business. 1728 was the year that the bank moved to 54 Lombard Street and was identified by the sign of the Black Spread Eagle, which would become a core part of the bank’s visual identity over the years.
The Barclay family had ties to the slave trade because members of the family were both for and against it. In 1776 the firm was renamed “Barclay Bevan and Bening” and would remain with that name until 1785. This was due to the fact that another partner by the name of John Tritton had married a Barclay. He was admitted to the business as a partner and thus the name became “Barclay, Bevan, Bening and Tritton”. In 1896 several banks in London and from other English provinces united under the name Barclays and Co., a joint-stock bank.
Barclays extended its branch network between the years of 1905 and 1916 by acquiring small English banks. Several expansions would come in the years to follow due to amalgamations and acquisitions. In 1925, the Colonial Bank, National Bank of South Africa and the Anglo-Egyptian Bank were amalgamated and Barclays operated its overseas operations under the name Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas)—Barclays DCO. In 1938, Barclays acquired the first Indian exchange bank, the Central Exchange Bank of India, which had opened in London in 1936 with the sponsorship of Central Bank of India.
Barclays became the first UK bank to appoint a female bank manager in May of 1958 . The manager of Barclays Hanover square branch in London was Hilda Harding and she managed the bank until her eventual retirement in 1970. Barclays established a US affiliate, Barclays Bank of California in San Francisco in the year of 1965.
Acquisitions and Expansions
They were the bank to establish the first credit card in the UK (Barclaycard), in 1966. On 27 June 1967, Barclays deployed the world’s first cash machine, in Enfield. The British actor Reg Varney was the first person to use this machine. The planned merger with Martins Bank and Lloyds Bank was blocked in 1969 by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, but the acquisition of Martins Bank on its own was later permitted. The British Linen Bank subsidiary was sold in the same year to the Bank of Scotland in exchange for a 25% stake, a transaction that became effective as of 1971. Barclays DCO changed its name to Barclays Bank International in 1971.
Barclays Bank International expanded its business in 1980 to include commercial credit and took over American Credit Corporation, renaming it Barclays American Corporation. In 1985 Barclays Bank and Barclays Bank International merged, and as part of the corporate reorganisation the former Barclays Bank plc became a group holding company, renamed Barclays Group Plc, and UK retail banking was integrated under the former BBI, and renamed Barclays Bank PLC from Barclays Bank Limited.
n 1986 Barclays sold its South African business operating under the Barclays National Bank name after protests against Barclays’ involvement in South Africa and its apartheid government. Also that year Barclays bought de Zoete & Bevan and Wedd Durlacher (formerly Wedd Jefferson) to form Barclays de Zoete Wedd (BZW), now known as the Barclays Investment Bank, and to take advantage of the Big Bang on the London Stock Exchange. Barclays plc is one of the wealthiest banks in the world and they are also involved in many sponsorship activities in sports and other activities.
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