'Greedy bastards': investor, 75, attacks Barclays bosses at AGM

Apr 26, 2013

Widower Joan Woolard applauded after telling execs: 'I don't understand how you sleep at night'

A PENSIONER channelled the "fury of a nation" yesterday as she lambasted Barclays bosses at the bank's Annual General Meeting.

Investor Joan Woolard, 75, travelled more than 100 miles from Spalding, Lincolnshire to London's Royal Festival Hall so she could tell the bank's directors that "people regard Barclays and its board as a bunch of crooks".

She told them: "Banks have brought us down – brought the entire global economy down. Yet none of you have gone to jail. I don't understand how you can sleep at night."

Woolard, a widow who lives on £726 per month, claimed anyone who wanted more than £1m per year to live on was a "greedy bastard". She also mocked Barclays' new slogan as the "go to" bank, saying it was more like the "go to hell" bank.

Her speech was applauded by fellow shareholders and lauded by Labour MP John Mann, who told the Daily Mail: "Woolard speaks for England."

Responding to her concerns, the bank's new chairman Sir David Walker said: "I readily agree that Barclays overpaid in the past – it's not going there again."

Yesterday was not Woolard's first brush with the Barclays board. Last year she branded the bank "heartless" for cancelling the joint credit card she held with her husband after his death – meaning she was unable to pay for flowers at his funeral. Her complaints prompted the bank to change its policy.

This time around, Woolard was one of a string of investors who criticised Barclays over bonuses, tax avoidance and speculation on food prices at the AGM, according to The Guardian.

Barclays is seeking to clean up its image in the wake of the Libor rate rigging scandal. Following the departure of CEO Bob Diamond, the bank recently ousted Rich Ricci, the head of its investment bank.

Despite their efforts, Barclays provoked fury last month after revealing its top executives had been paid a total of £39.5m in bonuses.

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Barclays was the only bank that did not take aid from the British government in 2008. They solved their problems themselves and are the only successful company in a dying British financial sector. Now Britain's regulators, government and retired elderly/hippies are out to get the one bank that has practiced what it preaches. If this bank was based in the US it would be lauded (like JP Morgan), but in the UK, being successful means you are looked at with scorn. Dear Ms. Woolard, if you really hate excessive payouts, why not go to the Hedge Fund meetings and shout there (where the executives are really earning big money).

It went to the Middle East instead. If it had delayed begging in the Middle East by a month, the sheiks would not have touched BB.