Barclays is to become the first major bank to offer basic accounts to prisoners reaching the end of their sentence, an ex-offenders association said today.
The bank is working with Unlock, the National Association of Reformed Offenders, to give basic financial training and help with application forms. The service will begin next month in prisons in the east of England.
Chris Bath, director of projects at Unlock, said: “Having a bank account is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for modern life. A bank account provides a crucial foundation on which people leaving prison can rebuild their lives.”
Barclays is the first major bank to sign up to the campaign set up by Unlock to encourage banks to partner with a prison region in tackling crime.
Explaining how the scheme works, Mark Parsons, managing director of current accounts at Barclays, told the Mail on Sunday: “Quite often they (prisoners) have poor financial literacy skills and don’t have the confidence to walk into a bank.
“Partnering with charitable organisations will make it easier for prisoners to rebuild their lives.”
Unlock said research due to be published next month will show people in prison find it difficult to open even a basic account.
Unlock added that is working closely with the British Bankers’ Association to encourage other banks to follow Barclays’ lead.