Peter Lilley has taken up the cause of people in Hertfordshire who rely on local money-transfer services, which face closure because of Barclays’ decision to withdraw banking facilities. 3000 people across the county – mainly of Sri Lankan origin – including over 1200 in Hitchin, will face significant disruption, increased costs and be denied access to their current reliable and affordable services if the decision is upheld.
Peter has called on Barclays and other UK banks to change their minds. This followed a meeting with Pulani Wijesiriwardana – the CEO of local firm Ezcash – which helps local people transmit money to support their relatives abroad. Pulani explained how the threatened withdrawal of banking services by Barclays would mean local people would only be able to send money via far more expensive services provided by the likes of Western Union and the major banks themselves. This would also result in the closure of around 250 similar firms and the loss of thousands of jobs. Without these legitimate businesses, more doors will open for non-regulated operators in the sector, putting customers at unnecessary risk.
“The is a significant number of hard working people living in Hitchin and Harpenden who have relatives in the developing countries from which they came. They want to send money back to their families; such flows constitute by far the most effective form of Aid; so companies which enable them to do so with the least deductions perform a valuable service. Restricting this service to the biggest, high cost banks is essentially anti-competitive. So I have written both to the Chairman of Barclays and to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to ask that they address this issue as a matter of urgency.”