This is an article that I felt our readers would enjoy it was written by Colin Fernandez of the Daily Mail Online 27th September 2010
When Cameron Hope tried to get a loan to help his business grow he felt as if he were talking to a brick wall.
In fact, he became so angry with the banks’ refusal to lend that he decided to give them a taste of their own medicine.
Yesterday the 59-year-old property developer bricked up the front door of a Barclays bank branch in protest at the lack of credit for small firms.
Cameron Hope blocking up the Barclays in Bournemouth
Protest: Cameron Hope blocking up the Barclays in Bournemouth
In an action likely to strike a chord with businesses unable to secure loans across the country, Mr Hope and other protesters built an 8ft by 4ft wall of breeze blocks outside the entrance of Barclays in Westbourne, Bournemouth, Dorset.
He was joined by other local business owners who have had trouble getting loans. They plastered the wall with placards proclaiming ‘Robbed by the banks we own’ and ‘Make the banks lend’.
Mr Hope, of Bournemouth, 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.
‘Savers are getting nothing, borrowers are getting nothing and the banks are doing whatever they like. Some of the banks are even owned by the taxpayer and still they won’t lend.
bricked up Barclays
Finishing touches: Mr Hope is furious at banks’ reluctance to lend
‘This protest is saying enough is enough and the Government needs to step in and make the banks lend.’
The Daily Mail’s Make the Banks Lend campaign, on behalf of small firms turned down for credit, argues that the banks have money to spare, thanks to enormous funds provided by the taxpayer.
Instead of lavishing this cash on bankers’ bonuses, banks should be lending it at affordable rates to small enterprises – the backbone of the economy. Small and medium concerns provide 57 per cent of all private sector jobs.
Mr Hope, who runs a portfolio of seven properties with his wife Christine, said he chose the Barclays branch at random and his protest is against the banking industry in general.
Mr Hope was threatened with arrest if he refused to take down the wall
He said he reached the end of his tether after he lost out on a lucrative property deal because his bank, HSBC, would not match half the funding for it.
‘We had agreed to buy the plot of land which, with planning permission alone, was worth more than £1million,’ he said.
‘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 own valuation done and then 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.’
Mr Hope, who has four grown-up children, said he recently approached the Buy To Let Mortgage Company to try to secure £40,000 for renovations from a block of flats that he already owns, but was refused.
He said: ‘What we have done today is to try and make a statement to the Government.’
Fellow protester Charlie Townsend, a 49-year-old property developer, said: ‘We are too apathetic in this country. We ought to be more like France and stand up and make a protest rather than be ridden roughshod over.’
The brick wall was taken down two hours into the protest after police threatened the demonstrators with arrest.