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Barclays leads the way by providing bank accounts to prisoners

27th September 2010 Print

Barclays, in partnership with UNLOCK, today furthers its commitment to the long-term financially excluded by extending its market-leading basic bank account to people nearing the end of a prison sentence, to help reintegrate them back into society.

Barclays has been working with UNLOCK, the National Association of Reformed Offenders, as part of its "Unlocking Banking" campaign, since 2007. The scheme helps people coming to the end of their prison sentence to open basic bank accounts and improve their money management skills, ultimately overcoming social and financial exclusion. Basic financial training and help with application forms is also provided by charity staff who work within the prisons.

The programme has been piloted by Barclays in three prisons in the UK and from today will be extended to cover 14 prisons in the UK covering all of the East of England prison region.

Mark Parsons, managing director of current account, savings and mortgages, said: "Access to finance is a key strand of Barclays Money Skills, our UK community investment programme. The long-term financially excluded, such as prisoners, are amongst the hardest to reach in society. Quite often they have poor financial literacy skills and don't have the confidence to walk into a bank. So by partnering with charitable organisations that spend time in working with these groups will make it easier for prisoners to rebuild their lives. We are pleased to be working with UNLOCK in this way."

"Having a bank account is not a luxury, it's a necessity for modern life" says Chris Bath, Director of Projects at UNLOCK.

"Having a bank account provides a crucial foundation upon which people leaving prison can rebuild their lives. It helps them to secure a job and somewhere to live, the two most important factors in successfully reintegrating into society. Barclays' leadership on this issue is appreciated by everyone with an interest in the successful resettlement of people in prison, including the Prison Service, charities and most importantly, the people themselves".