A petition signed by 20,000 people is to be handed in to Downing Street urging Barclays to keep a service that allows people living in Britain to send small amounts of money to family and friends in developing nations.
It is the latest move in a campaign to save the money transfer service which has been described by double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah as a lifeline because the money received by people in Somalia enables them to buy essentials such as food and medicine.
Barclays is the last of the London-based banks to operate the system in which remittance services companies have bank accounts through which the money can be sent to people in Africa and the Indian sub-continent. Remittances from Britain in 2011 amounted to more than £2 billion.
However, the bank fears the system could be used by terrorists and other criminals and has informed the remittance companies that their accounts are to be closed.
Mo Farah is among those anxious the bank changes its mind or that an alternative money-transfer system can be established: “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.”