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UK FCA opens probe into Barclays Bank's debt collection

Barclays Plc said the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched an enforcement investigation into unit Barclays Bank Plc's systems and controls in relation to its debt collection processes.

The lender said the regulator is looking into whether Barclays Bank had, since July 2015, implemented effective systems and controls with respect to collections and recoveries relating to unsecured lending, and whether it paid due consideration to the interests of customers in default and arrears.

Barclays said it currently cannot provide an estimate of the financial impact of the probe on the group or what effect it might have on operating results, cash flows or financial position in any particular period.

Earlier in February, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office charged the unit over Barclays' controversial 2008 loan to Qatar, an extension of those brought against the parent and former executives in June 2017. The bank is also in talks with the U.S. Justice Department to settle a mortgage securities misselling case out of court. Meanwhile, CEO Jes Staley is also being investigated by the FCA over his attempts to identify a whistleblower in 2016.

The bank on Feb. 22 unveiled plans to more than double its dividend for 2018 despite posting a full-year 2017 loss of £1.92 billion, compared to a profit of £1.62 billion in 2016.