Barclays boss has mortgage with rival

Helen McCormack
Monday 01 May 2006 00:00
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Barclays Bank is facing potential embarrassment after its chief executive apparently snubbed his own company and took out a mortgage with HSBC, one of its main rivals.

John Varley is said to have mortgaged his £1.5m town house in London with HSBC last year, four months after being appointed to the top post at Barclays, having spent 22 years working for the bank.

At the time Mr Varley took out his mortgage, HSBC's standard rate was 5.5 per cent - more than a percentage point lower than the standard rate at Barclays.

A spokesman for Barclays conceded that Mr Varley's case was not unique among executives.

Barclays' finance director Naguib Kheraj is reported to have a mortgage with Coutts, the private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Sir Nigel Rudd, the deputy chairman, has a mortgage with Lloyds TSB, which was taken out before Sir Nigel joined the bank's board.

The Barclays spokesman said: "While the directors would prefer to hold their mortgages with Barclays, the level of disclosure of personal and family finances issues could be intrusive in their private lives."

The revelations follow criticism of Barclays' chairman Matthew Barrett, after he said in 2003 that he would not borrow money by credit card as it was too expensive.

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