Barclays /ˈbɑːkliz/ is a British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London. It is a universal bank with operations in retail, wholesale and investment banking, as well as wealth management, mortgage lending and credit cards. It has operations in over 50 countries and territories and has around 48 million customers. As of 31 December 2011 Barclays had total assets of US$2.42 trillion, the seventh-largest of any bank worldwide.
Barclays is organised within these business clusters: Corporate and Investment Banking, Wealth and Investment Management; and Retail and Business Banking. The Corporate and Investment Banking, Wealth and Investment Management cluster comprises three business units: Corporate banking; Investment banking; and Wealth and investment management. The Retail and Business Banking cluster comprises four business units: Africa Retail and Business Banking (including Absa Group); Barclaycard (credit card and loan provision); Europe Retail and Business Banking; and UK Retail and Business Banking.
Barclays traces its origins to a goldsmith banking business established in the City of London in 1690. James Barclay became a partner in the business in 1736. In 1896 several banks in London and the English provinces, including Backhouse's Bank and Gurney's Bank, united as ajoint-stock bank under the name Barclays and Co. Over the following decades Barclays expanded to become a nationwide bank. In 1967, Barclays deployed the world's first cash dispenser. Barclays has made numerous corporate acquisitions, including of London, Provincial and South Western Bank in 1918, British Linen Bank in 1919, Mercantile Credit in 1975, the Woolwich in 2000 and the North American operations of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
Barclays has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It had a market capitalisation of approximately £22 billion as of 23 December 2011, the 22nd-largest company of any company with a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.