Barclays creates £150m war chest to guard against Brexit uncertainty

Barclays Bank shareholders

Banking giant Barclays has revealed due to Brexit uncertainty they have put by £150m, as a result profits have slipped 1% lower to £3.49bn.

The bank said they have put aside the Brexit charge of £150m in the last three months of 2018. The bank said this is to cover the “anticipated economic uncertainty in the UK,” as the bank’s credit card and corporate loan businesses could be impacted.

Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays said, “2018 represented a very significant period for Barclays.

“In the course of the year, having resolved major legacy issues and reduced the drag from low returning businesses, we started to see the earnings potential of the bank, as the strategy we have implemented began to deliver.”

The results come as the bank faces sustained pressure from activist investor Edward Bramson for a shake-up.

Rival lender Royal Bank of Scotland said last October that it was taking a £100m charge related to a “more uncertain economic outlook” in the UK.

The provision made by Barclays reflects an expected impact of uncertainty on its UK credit card and corporate loans operations.

Barclays said 2018 profits for its ring-fenced UK consumer business were up by 12% to £1.96bn, though for the fourth quarter they were 14% lower at £390m for the same period a year ago.

The bank said it saw “continued momentum” in mortgage lending and customer deposits but saw profit margins on its loans squeezed – amid what other lenders have said is a tough competitive environment.