The Barclays UK decision on the Somali MSBs accounts: @Barclays to reconsider its decision
  • Petitioning Mr Antony Jenkins
  • Responded

This petition will be delivered to:

Group Chief Executive
Mr Antony Jenkins
CEO, Retail and Business Banking
Ashok Vaswani

The Barclays UK decision on the Somali MSBs accounts: @Barclays to reconsider its decision

    1. Farhan Hassan
    2. Petition by

      Farhan Hassan

      London, United Kingdom

We are writing to request that the UK Government works with British banks to find a durable solution to the recent decision of Barclays to close its accounts with Somali Money Service Businesses (MSBs). Some have already been closed. Others are facing closure and uncertain future. With such a short timeframe, and without having provided a comprehensive explanation as to why Barclays wishes to sever its relationships with the MSBs, these companies are understandably finding it very difficult to find new partners to work with.

Now Mo Farah, Team GB’s two-time gold medal-winning runner at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has signed the petition and thrown himself behind the campaign. Like tens of thousands of other British Somalis Mo, who was born in the capital Mogadishu, relies on MSBs to send money back to his family, who use the money to buy basic staples like food. Their livelihoods are now under threat.

Mo’s charity, the Mo Farah Foundation, uses MSBs to transfer cash to some of the people hit hardest by drought in the world.

What is at stake is a lifeline that provides essential support to an estimated 40% of the population of Somalia. Somali MSBs provide fast, reliable and secure transmission of funds from the diaspora (estimated at approximately 1.5 million people) to their relatives at home. In addition, many other diaspora groups from the Horn of Africa – in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan – send remittances to their family members using the same companies. Not only do Somali MSBs provide essential services to the global Somali community, they also make it possible for international humanitarian and development organisations to provide vital support to Somalis in a country that lacks a more formal public banking system and where war and famine are visitors.

We call on the UK Government to:

> Assist the Somali MSBs in finding alternative banking partners, and to assemble the necessary compliance information needed to demonstrate their accountability to new partners

> Request that Barclays extends its termination deadline for at least twelve months for Somali MSBs so that the flow of remittances through licensed companies is not disrupted, and a more durable solution can be found in the meantime

> Convene a series of multi-stakeholder discussions, beyond Whitehall, that will work on developing the enhanced due diligence that the banks seem to require for this sub-sector of MSBs.

If enough people add their name to our petition we'll be able to send a strong message to Barclays to reconsider its hasty decision.

Olympic champion Mo Farah says:

"Cutting this lifeline would be a disaster for millions. The small sums sent home by British Somalis each week enable family members to buy food, medicines and other life essentials.

"I have been sending money home for a number of years and the Mo Farah Foundation, along with some of the world’s biggest international charities and organisations, including the United Nations, rely on these businesses to channel funds and pay local staff.

"Everyone following the issue understands that Barclays has a bank to run, but this decision could mean life or death to millions of Somalis. I’m urging them to grant an extension of at least twelve months to the affected businesses, and for the UK government to work with everyone involved to find a durable solution to the problem."

Already 105 leading academics and practitioners have sent co-signed letter to UK cross-party policymakers.

Please join us and call on UK Government to work with British banks to find a durable solution to the recent decision of Barclays to close its accounts with Somali MSBs.

Together we can make change happen!

Thank you.

To:
Mr Antony Jenkins, Group Chief Executive
Ashok Vaswani, CEO, Retail and Business Banking
Barclays
Barclays to reconsider its decision

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. UK Government strives to support safer remittance flows to Somalia

      Farhan Hassan
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you again for signing our petition to protect money transfer services to Somalia. Millions of people depend on this life-saving service.

      We are very pleased to report a new development.

      The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrea Leadsom wrote an article on remittances and the Safer Corridor pilot for UK-Somali remittances initiative (read it at: http://africanarguments.org/2014/09/01/somali-remittances-uk-goverment-strives-to-support-safer-remittance-flows-to-somalia-by-andrea-leadsom/).

      We appreciated the update on the progress of the Safer Corridor project so far, and the Government’s commitment to doing all it can to find a durable solution for what is a lifeline service for millions of people. In addition, we are very pleased to report the Government is actively consulting and engaging with the British Somali community, industry, and wider stakeholders on the Safer Corridor pilot for UK-Somali remittances project (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/331523/Community_Engagement_Meetings.pdf).

      Although we welcome anything the Government and its partners can do to support and facilitate dialogue and discussion among stakeholders as step forward in the right direction, we are still very concerned about the interim solutions.

      This is significant development for the campaign and your support has been invaluable to getting here.

      Thank you for your support and encouragement that you provided over the past year. You have made this campaign process a great success.

      Your continued support means so much. Let's keep it up.

      All the latest development and information on the Safer Corridor pilot for UK-Somali remittances initiative can be found on the Action Group for Cross Border Remittances webpage:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-developing-countries-economies-to-grow/supporting-pages/enabling-the-continued-flow-of-remittances

      Thank you,
      Farhan

      Somali Remittances: UK Government strives to support safer remittance flows to Somalia - By Andrea Leadsom

      In recent months, the UK government has worked closely with the Somali community on the issue of remittances. I understand the levels of anxiety in the community, as a result of changes to banking arrangements for key Somali MSBs and the fragility of many peoples' situation in Somalia.

    2. Somali Money Services Association: A Response to Barclay’s Recent Statement

      Farhan Hassan
      Petition Organizer

      "In light of recent statements issued by Barclays, SOMSA would like to address a number of inaccuracies in the public statements they have made.

      We note Barclays’s statement that 12 of SOMSA’s 16 members banked with banks other than Barclays, and that of the 4 that Barclays has asked to find another bank, at least 1 has been successful in re-banking thus far. These assertions are incorrect..''
      Full statement click here http://www.somsa.co.uk/somsas-response-to-barclays-recent-statement/

    3. Decision-maker Barclays responds:

      Barclays

      Thank you for inviting Barclays to respond to this survey. We welcome the opportunity to explain what is happening here and the reasons why.

      Firstly, the decision that has been made by Barclays has not been an easy one. From the outset...


    4. Reached 100,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Ahmed Abukar MOGADISHU, SOMALIA
      • 1 day ago

      Because this will negatively effects thousands of vulnerable communities in my country and it puts their lives in risk

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Hanad Dek Magan SOMALIA
      • 6 days ago

      hanadyare

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • michael pratt FIFE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 29 days ago

      I don't think anybody's life should be in danger from starvation especially people with strong ties to our country.Please can you help

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Caroline Wilson KENILWORTH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 month ago

      I was a trustee of a small charity and we used the transfer system very effectively to pay staff, send money for specific family members being assisted and for running expences. The transfers were tightly controlled and very secure- in many ways much more so then ordinary banks I use in the UK. They never made a mistake and alerted me if money sent was not collected and put in place security questions individually tailored to ensure only the correct person collected. Their record keeping was impeccable.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Nikki Small OXFORDSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 month ago

      Please keep this lifeline open. To stop people being able to send money to their families could cost thousands of lives!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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