Barclays Takes Another 700 Million-Pound Charge

LONDON -- Barclays (LSE: BARC.L  ) (NYSE: BCS  ) said today that it was putting aside another 700 million pounds in relation to claims for payment protection insurance (PPI). The decision came after the bank experienced a higher-than-anticipated level of claims since June 2012.

The news takes Barclays' total provisions to date to 2 billion pounds, after a 1 billion-pound charge made in 2011 and 300 million pounds made in the first quarter of 2012. Shares in Barclays fell 2% to 240 pence on the news, as investors were no doubt taken aback by the level of increase in just a few months.

Barclays also said that it expects to post an underlying third-quarter profit figure of 1.7 billion pounds when it releases its next results on 31 October. However, after the additional PPI charge, plus a 1.1 billion pounds charge related to its own borrowings, the bank might actually report an overall loss in the region of 0.1 billion pounds.

The news about the additional PPI costs also had a knock-on effect on other banks.

In particular, Lloyds Banking (LSE: LLOY.L  ) (NYSE: LYG  ) , which has already set aside a massive 4.3 billion pounds for PPI claims, the most in the entire U.K. banking industry, fell 1% to 41.7 pence. Obviously, there are concerns that Lloyds may have had a similar experience to Barclays, and have to increase its PPI provisions as well. Lloyds is due to release its next trading statement on 1 November.

It's nasty surprises such as these that led to investors such as Neil Woodford deciding to steer clear of banks altogether. This decision helped him deliver an impressive 347% total return -- and thrash the wider market -- during the 15 years to 2011.

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Stuart does not own any of the shares listed above.

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