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Joanna McArdle

Industry expert

I have worked for Barclays in Belfast for over 10 years and I am delighted to have been part of the team that has seen it expand in that time. We have led some of the largest financing transactions in Northern Ireland and are now recognised as a leading player in the market locally.

Working as a Relationship Director in the Corporate Team I am responsible for a wide variety of clients across the public sector including those in the Local Authority and Social Housing sectors. We have relationships with over 20 of the top 50 companies locally and I am delighted to have both the largest Housing Association and Council in my portfolio.

The last 12-18 months have been an exciting time for us in Belfast as there has been significant investment in the franchise locally including the opening of a new Barclays Eagle Lab and a £2m investment in our city centre retail branch. 

Strangest place for a client meeting?

I’ve no scare stories (so far!) but luckily, I’ve an exciting client portfolio so meetings can range from a behind the scenes tour of Belfast Waterfront Hall which is one of Belfast’s most iconic entertainment and conference venues to attending the opening of new social housing scheme and meeting the tenants who are going to move into their new homes that we have helped fund.  Recently I have also had meetings at some award-winning renewable energy schemes in Ireland-one which involved 30 metre climb to see the plant in operation!

One of the best parts of my job, is meeting clients out on their premises and hearing their stories. They’re often market leaders in their sectors and have high standards. Being able to help them compete on a global scale, is a great feeling not just as a Barclays employee but as someone from Northern Ireland. 

Tell us about a time you've helped your client with something beyond banking?

Universal credit was introduced in 2017 in Northern Ireland and has had a major impact on the Social Housing sector. In particular, the need for all Housing Association tenants to have bank accounts to facilitate the acceptance of electronic payments. This posed a challenge for my Housing Association clients and their ability to manage their tenants as a significant number didn’t have a bank account and furthermore had limited experience and knowledge on what was required to open one. 

Partnering with our retail colleagues we created and delivered a series of onsite training sessions for these tenants. This reduced the stress for them and addressed a major issue for my clients. 

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Industry expertise

Public Sector

Experienced specialists deliver solutions and support for social housing, education, government and local authority bodies.

What's the most exciting thing happening in your client's industry?

Brexit. This impacts all our clients, especially if NI remains in the unique position of being in the UK and the Customs Union. This presents challenges, opportunities; and uncertainties unimaginable a few years ago. NI receives significant EU funding, across all aspects of the public sector and especially for large scale infrastructure projects. My clients are asking for help with long-term financial planning and risk management. On a more positive note, Brexit has accelerated their global thinking and sparked new approaches to funding such as the Debt Capital Market that I look forward to helping them with.

If you didn't work for Barclays, what would you be doing?

I’m a new mum, so things have changed recently, but outside of work my two passions are sport and travel. I’ve been to Everest base camp, climbed the three highest mountains in Ireland in 24hrs, completed every parkrun in NI in one weekend and visited every Belfast Bike stop in one morning (breaking the system in the process… they’d never planned on someone changing bikes so often).

In my ideal world, if I wasn't working for Barclays, I’d be a sports commentator – especially the Olympics and Wimbledon. The talent, drive and commitment of some of our world class athletes is something that I both admire and envy!

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