It's probably one of the biggest names on the high street and a bank that has been around for more than 300 years - little wonder, then, that there are probably very few people who have not heard of the name Barclays.
Although its international standing and reputation has led to it currently having a major presence on four continents, the bank's origins, of course, were rather more humble. It got off the ground as long ago as 1690 when two partners - John Freame and Thomas Gould - began trading as bankers to London goldsmiths. In what was to become the icon name, one James Barclay joined the fledgling bank as a partner less than forty years later.
By the beginning of the 20th century Barclay & Company Limited had prospered and grown sufficiently to seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange, with the bank having involved itself in the backbone development - from railways to shipping and, later, motor manufacturing - of a nation's industrial empire.
It is a history that has seen a number of firsts in retail banking: the first female bank manager, for example, in 1958; the first credit card to be issued in the UK (1966); the first automated cash point, Barclaycash, in 1967; the first bank in the UK to advertise on television (1972); and the first British bank to have its shares listed on both the Tokyo and New York Stock Exchanges (1986).
Such innovative and path finding activity probably best characterises what the institution is all about and spills over into the whole range of products for which it has become a household name.
Barclays landlord insurance
A case in point, for example, lies in the range of insurance products Barclays is able to offer to landlords.
Specialist insurance cover, for example, may be necessary whether you are a homeowner simply letting your property for a temporary period or if you are a full-time landlord in the business of buying to let.
In either case, you are likely to want insurance that not only protects the building and its contents but also offer you security against potential claims against you as the landlord, loss of rent (in the event of an insured risk leaving the property unfit for letting, for example), or the cost of legal expenses in the course of pursuing a claim.
In the development of this particular product, Barclays have started out from the position that there is generally no obligation on such property owners to hold this kind of insurance. Instead, the company illustrates some of the pitfalls and potential for - not insignificant - financial loss if the occasional or full-time landlord chooses not to avail him or self with a simple and straightforward insurance product to help indemnify any setbacks, accidents or disasters.