Celebrating 100 years in Guernsey

31 August 2023

Please note: This article does not constitute advice.

As Barclays marks its 100th birthday in Guernsey, we reflect on our history and look to the future in this growing financial centre. This article runs alongside a series of celebrations, which includes a client dinner, afternoon tea for former colleagues and beach cleaning.

We first opened our doors in Guernsey at Fountain Street, St Peter Port on 1 October 1923. Other branches followed in High Street, St Sampson and Hospital Lane. Since September 2023, all our activity has been housed in the St Julian’s Court branch.

Throughout this time, Barclays’ history on the island has been inseparable from that of the community. When German forces occupied during the second World War, for instance, the bank’s bullion and ledgers were evacuated to London for safe keeping.

As our presence on the island has grown, our ties to its people have also strengthened. In 2008, Barclays Wealth sponsored Guernsey’s national cricket team. Later in 2020, we supported the States of Guernsey loan guarantee scheme to ease financial hardship for individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the insights of three colleagues as they discuss their time with Barclays and what makes the island such a special place to live and work.

I’ve been lucky to work with people who’ve never seen gender as an issue

Justine Gaudion

Country Head and Head of Local Markets

Having become our bank’s Country Head in June 2022, Justine Gaudion is enormously proud that she will mark the centenary as the region’s first female country director.

After joining Barclays in 1986, Justine soon rose through the ranks and has held several leadership roles, including Premier Relationship Executive, Branch Manager and Head of Mortgages. 

She now manages Relationship teams across the local markets, in addition to her Country Management Role (if you’d like to learn more about our history in other Crown Dependencies, read our article celebrating 100 years in the Isle of Man).

“As an organisation, Barclays has been brilliant. I love that we are very focused on our clients and our people, and their wellbeing. The culture has always suited my style, and I’ve been very lucky to work with colleagues who have never seen gender as an issue.

“While it’s a real privilege to be where I am today, I also feel a great deal of responsibility as I know other women may look to me as an example of diversity and gender equality.”

As well as giving her the opportunity to excel in her working life, Justine believes Barclays has helped her to pursue her ambitions to support the local community. 

Between 2019 and 2022, she was a Director and Chair of the Board of GO Giving Opportunities. This not-for-profit organisation helps disadvantaged people on the island get back into employment by working in retail and selling upcycled goods.

“I’d always had an ambition to work in the third sector. Barclays offered me and several other colleagues the opportunity to get involved,” she says. “While I was working with the charity, we made a number of changes to benefit our GO colleagues.” 

By applying her business skills to the running of the initiative, Justine helped GO to reduce costs and then reinvest these savings into the training and development of its people. She also led, with the support of the board, the expansion of its retail space and the hiring of a general manager.

Whether working at Barclays or within the community, it is the empowerment of others that gives Justine the greatest satisfaction. “I get the most joy from seeing people do well, from seeing my community and my colleagues excel.”

Barclays has been my entire working life and I have no regrets

Michele Rowe

Head of Internal Operational Control – Crown Dependencies and Head of Guernsey Payments

As a self-described “Guernsey girl,” Michele Rowe celebrated her 40th anniversary with Barclays in July 2023. 

For the mum-of-two and grandmother-of-four, a career in finance had been a childhood dream. "I used to go into banks and was in awe of the cashiers and personal bankers. I just thought, ‘I want to do that one day’.”

She decided to pursue this ambition at the first opportunity. “Not long before my 16th birthday, I applied to Barclays and another clearing bank. I was offered both jobs and accepted Barclays. I’ve been here ever since."

Not surprisingly, Michele has worked in numerous roles over the four decades, including cashier and personal banker, and has worked in reconciliations for more than 20 years. 

As Head of Internal Operational Control, she manages two teams and works closely with her colleagues in Jersey and the Isle of Man. “The career highlight has been working in so many areas of the bank and gaining so much experience.”

As well as the professional highlights, Guernsey’s strong sense of community has been a common thread throughout Michele’s life. “Everyone rallies round in a place like Guernsey. We have a lot of workers coming to the island from the UK and beyond.”

Not surprisingly, celebrating her 40th Barclays birthday has put Michele in a reflective mood. “Barclays has gone through my whole adult life,” she says. “It’s wonderful to work with colleagues with a sense of humour and the flexibility of Barclays has been a real highlight.

“I’ve made some wonderful memories during my career and plan to make many more.

Talent shines at Barclays and colleagues are always appreciated

Scott Gillen

Fiduciary Relationship Manager AVP

As the son of two bankers, beginning his career with Barclays seemed like a natural choice for Scott Gillen. “I started my journey with the bank when I was fresh out of school. Barclays is a globally recognised brand, and it seemed like the kind of environment I wanted to be in.”

After having several roles with the bank including Account Executive and Senior Personal Banker, he moved to Guernsey from North London to take up the role of Relationship Manager in February 2020.

Scott instantly fell in love with living and working on the island. “Talent shines in a centre like this,” he says. “Colleagues are appreciated, which just generates a great atmosphere.”

And he has certainly excelled in his role. “It’s been great in terms of career progression. Everyone has been really supportive and helped me open doors where I’ve wanted them to open.”

Outside of work, Scott was also the recipient of support from the wider community when the island went into lockdown just a month after his arrival. “Looking back, it was probably the best place to be. Everyone really came together to get us out of lockdown early.”

With plans to buy a house on the island, Scott is excited to build a future in Guernsey. Nonetheless, he also recognises the international potential of an organisation such as Barclays. “Having a career with the bank really gives you an appreciation of how the world works and has definitely opened my eyes to the global economy.”

Hoping to do some of the same for others, Scott recommended working with Barclays to an acquaintance who recently took up a role with the bank. “After a few weeks, she thanked me and said that it was the best decision she’s ever made.”

The next 100 years

While much has changed on the island during the past century, Barclays is as committed as ever to remaining, and growing, within Guernsey.

“Over the next 100 years, we will continue to be a relationship-led bank, which focuses on our clients and our people,” says Country Head Justine. “We’re so much more than a transactional bank. Maintaining and supporting those relationships will be the priority. We have to make Guernsey successful. If Guernsey doesn’t thrive, Barclays will not thrive.”

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