Property developer builds brick wall over bank entrance after loan refusal

Property developer builds brick wall over bank entrance after loan refusal


A property developer from Dorset has protested against the high street banks’ lack of lending to SMEs by building a brick wall over the entrance to a branch of Barclays.

Cameron Hope, 59, from Bournemouth, became so angry at the banks’ current lending criteria – which he feels is shutting out SMEs – that he decided to shut them out instead.

With the help of some friends, Mr Hope built an 8ft tall by 4ft wide wall of breeze bricks, and completely blocked the entrance to Barclays bank in Westbourne, Bournemouth, Dorset.

Making their sentiments loud and clear, the protesters put up placards with slogans reading, ‘Robbed by the banks we own’ and ‘Make the banks lend.’

Ironically, Mr Hope and his fellow protesters hadn’t meant to target Barclays, but NatWest instead. However, he became deterred by the police presence there, (due to an unrelated incident), and so opted for ‘Plan B’.

He told the BBC: "It was Plan B and we drove up the road to Barclays – nothing against Barclays at all.”

Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, Mr Hope spoke of his growing discontent with the lack of lending to SMEs and said: “We blocked the doorway as a way of saying that the banks are open but the safe is shut.

“The banks are stifling the recovery from the recession by not lending businesses any money.

 “This protest is saying enough is enough and the Government needs to step in and make the banks lend.”

Mr Hope told the press that he finally reached boiling point after being refused a loan by HSBC, leading him to lose out on a lucrative property deal because he had insufficient funds.

“We had agreed to buy the plot of land which, with planning permission alone, was worth more than £1 million,” he told the Daily Mail.

“We had raised £200,000 and all we wanted was £200,000 from HSBC. They took our application on and at first made positive noises about it, then got their valuation done and they just said no.

“There was no explanation other than they were not lending at the moment. We had to pay them £2,500 in fees on that application

“As a result we lost the site.”

Nikki Cann, associate director of the NACFB, said: “Although obviously I can’t condone bricking up banks, I can understand how the current climate is making some SMEs extremely frustrated. We are hearing stories from brokers all the time about how lending appetite from some lenders is almost non-existent; how deals which start as promising end up rejected and little is offered by way of explanation other than: ‘we have no appetite for this type of property/location/kind of business’.

“Ironically, the bank who ended up with the bricked up front door in this story is actually one who has kept its doors open for brokers long after many others had closed – one of the good guys, you might say! But all banks are being super cautious right now and the new capital adequacy requirements to be ushered in under Basel 3 aren’t going to make it any easier for them to open their doors.”

A Barclays spokesperson added: "We are very much open for business and there is money available to lend to viable businesses.

"The cost of lending is based on a number of factors including risk.

"Arrangement fees are part of this and are priced competitively in line with the market."

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