Barclays' £7 billion profit angers customers

21 February 2007
Consumer-oriented financial analysts have reacted badly to the news this week that Barclays' profits for 2006 came in at £7.13 billion – 35 per cent higher than in 2005.

Barclays UK, the high street banking division, took £2.6 billion in profit, a 17 per cent increase on 2005 figures, although the Barclaycard division saw pre-tax profits fall by more than a third from £640 million to £382 million.

The ebb in credit card profits shows that consumers' flight from unsecured borrowing has hit providers.

The exodus reduced Barclaycard's total customer base from 11.2 million to 9.8 million over the year.

But the banking business remains one of the most profitable industries in the UK according to – and the other four big banks are expected to announce similar profit increases over the coming weeks.

"Every household in the UK contributed an average of more than £400 to the profits of the big five banks," Zopa, the social lending site estimates.

According to Zopa, National Consumer Council research shows that Britons dislike banks more than cold callers, door-steppers, public transport or mobile phone operators.

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