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Barclays Commercial Bank launches new initiative to help UK businesses through the recession


Barclays Commercial Bank today launches a new initiative to assist its 81,000 business clients in battling recession. The Turning the Corner programme combines practical guidance, workshops, industry discussions and networking events to offer business owners and managers specific skills and knowledge that will help them in meeting the unique challenges, and identifying potential opportunities, the current recession presents.

David Marks, Barclays Commercial Bank Managing Director, England and Wales, said Turning the Corner is a natural step towards improving the way the bank supports businesses, particularly when combined with increased business lending and support of Government initiatives such as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG).

“We are acutely aware of our responsibilities in the current environment and we remain committed to creating and maintaining a platform for our clients to succeed. Of course this means continuing to lend, which we are well placed to do as we remain well capitalised with a strong balance sheet. We are also working closely with the Government to support initiatives such as the EFG.

“But it also means adding value by providing practical guidance and information, and connecting businesses with like minded peers so they can share learning on how to adapt their businesses to the specific challenges of operating in a recession. By offering our clients specific financial solutions and highlighting options for building more efficient operations, we believe their businesses will be better positioned when the economy recovers,” Marks said.

Today, Sheffield hosts the first in a series of Turning the Corner events focused on connecting businesses and educating clients on best practice throughout the economic downturn. These regional advisory events include workshops and practical seminars from a range of business experts including renowned business mentor René Carayol, as well as the opportunity to participate in trade fairs in order to extend networks and develop new business leads. Later this week new sector-focused events will be rolled out, enabling management teams to find out what other businesses from their industry are currently doing to adapt, survive and in some cases thrive.

The programme also includes a website with recession-specific content to help aid decision-making in areas such as human resources, supply chain management, foreign exchange and other finance and management disciplines. The website will include third party guidance from a range of industry experts as well as a Barclays perspective on market conditions and developments. (

Critically, this initiative will also involve the sharing of skills from dedicated turnaround professionals. Barclays Commercial Bank Business Support teams work with the management of struggling organisations to turn their companies around by offering specialist financial and operational advice and creating lending arrangements more suited to the long term needs of the company. Indicative of how effective this support is, 76 per cent of the companies that worked with Barclays Business Support on a turnaround strategy were successful in returning to health in 2008.

Barclays Commercial Bank’s financial results, announced last month, revealed strong lending growth, increasing 14 per cent in 2008 to £61.7 billion.

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services with an extensive international presence in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia.

Barclays Commercial Bank provides banking services to 81,200 organisations with an annual turnover of more than £1m. Customers are served via a network of relationship and industry sector specialists, which provides solutions constructed from a comprehensive suite of banking products, support, expertise and services, including specialist asset financing and leasing facilities. Customers are also offered access to the products and expertise of other businesses in the Barclays Group, particularly Barclays Capital, Barclaycard and Barclays Wealth.


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