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A very personal 50 years

Barclaycard has been helping people buy and sell for fifty years. That doesn’t happen by accident, and it’s thanks to the thousands of talented people who have come and gone over the decades that we’ve innovated our way to success.

Ahead of our 50th birthday, we caught up with one of our longest serving colleagues to find out what’s changed and why she’s stuck around since the sixties. Meet Pamela Pow, an Account Development Executive based at our main office and birthplace of Barclaycard, Northampton.

Hi Pam. Tell us about your first job with the bank back in 1966, and what you knew of Barclaycard at the time.

I was 16 when I started working in the King’s Lynn branch of Barclays. I’d sort out cheques paid in by customers before they were collected overnight. And the next morning, I’d sort the cheques paid in from other banks and staple those to customers’ statements.

We knew all about Barclaycard because the rep (in his grey van with the Barclaycard decal on the side) used to come in and talk about it. Norfolk was still very much a cash culture though. Most people got paid that way, so Barclaycard was a novel concept. You either paid in cash, or you didn’t buy.

Pamela Pow

What did you do next, and how did you come make the move to Barclaycard?

My next role included helping smaller branches when staff were ill or on holiday. Back then, you weren’t allowed to stay alone in hotels if you were under 21, so I lived with a bank manager and his family for nine months. I’m still great friends with them now.

In 1981 I moved over to Barclaycard into a Relationship Manager role, based around London initially. The culture was more contemporary – there weren’t many women on the road but we were treated the same as the men. They told me about the job and then when I’d start – that was the interview process! I’m still here today.

You were even entered into Barclaycard’s Hall of Fame.

Yes, that’s been my highlight so far. It celebrates those who have been in the business a long time and contributed a lot.

How does working for Barclaycard back in the day compare to today?

I loved the freedom in 1981 – being on the road and meeting new people. But now the work-life balance in Barclaycard is so much better. In those days I was on the road from 9 to 5 and then doing paperwork until 10pm. Although, mobiles didn’t exist back then so they didn’t always know where you were.

Back then it wouldn’t take long to fill out a contract – it was all on one sheet and there were no KYCs (Know Your Client checks). We did two copies: the customer had one and we kept the other. Now, with cyber crime and fraud, a lot more checking and paperwork is needed. And we seem to have a spreadsheet for everything!

 

 

Pamela Pow

Do you feel you’ve made your mark at Barclaycard?

Yes, I’m trusted. I’m asked to support the customers who say they want to leave and I enjoy turning those around if I can. I have a really good team and manager, and have no plans to retire yet!

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