The mortgage mole

OPEN ALL HOURS Barclays was busy promoting its Great Escape remortgage offer last week, encouraging borrowers to switch from a tracker to a fixed rate if they are worried about a dreaded interest rate rise.

But Mole was surprised to hear just how accommodating the bank is being to customers who find it difficult to visit their local branch during normal opening hours.

Staff at one branch in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex left the branch unlocked and unattended on Saturday afternoon and were only alerted to the problem after customers raised the alarm.

Passers-by claimed anyone who chose to wander in had access to the entire office, from the cashiers’ area to the vault.

“It’s good to know that the next time I wake up in a cold sweat in the night worrying about rising interest rates, I can pop down to the branch and fill in the paperwork to switch my mortgage myself,” Natalie Thomas, deputy editor of Mortgage Strategy and resident of Leigh-on-Sea, told Mole.

THE DARK SIDE Speaking of Barclays, the editorial team at Mortgage Strategy were lucky enough to be treated to a night out at the 02 arena by the bank last week, but unfortunately a lack of lighting in its box meant the hot buffet was more like a lucky dip.

Mole and his fellow revellers arrived expecting to see Peter Kay but instead were greeted by the crooning sounds of support act Rick Astley, for whom all the lights in the stadium had been turned

“I was starving on the way there but it was so dark we had to grope our way around the buffet,” reporter Tessa Norman told a sympathetic Mole.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be chowing down on a bit of garlic bread or a piece of cheesecake.”