The Labour leader will call for the big five banks - Barclays, HBOS, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and RBS/NatWest - to become seven, with privately-run "challenger banks" to buy up to 1,000 existing branches. It is hoped that this will increase competition and choice for consumers as well as reduce bank charges.
As a result of these legislative changes, provincial limited-liability joint-stock companies started picking off private banks. After lengthy negotiations, three of the largest Quaker-run banking firms--Barclays (which had become Barclays, Tritton, Ransom, Bouverie & Company after a merger in 1888), Jonathan Backhouse & Company, and Gurneys, Birkbeck, Barclay & Buxton, along with 17 smaller Quaker-run banks, agreed to merge and form a bank large enough to resist takeover attempts. Barclays took its modern form in 1896 when the 20 private banks merged to form Barclay and Company, Ltd., a joint-stock association with deposits totalling an impressive £26 million. This marked the beginning of Barclays' tradition of service to farmers and fishermen.