A UK-based multinational bank that has provided credit, loans, and bond underwriting services to US private prison and detention companies.
Barclays PLC is a multinational bank based in London. It is the 17th largest banking institution in the world by assets, £1.4 trillion as of 2020, with annual revenue of £21.8 billion in 2020.
Barclays has served as an underwriter for bonds for CoreCivic and The GEO Group, the largest private prison and immigrant detention companies in the U.S. It has also been a part of a syndicate of banks that provides term loans and a revolving line of credit to GEO Group, providing the company with hundreds of millions of dollars for the expansion of its business activities. Private prison companies rely on banks and financing organizations to finance their growth and expansion.
In 2014, GEO Group entered into a credit agreement with a syndicate of banks that included Barclays. This included a $900 million revolving line of credit and a $792 million term loan. The contributions of each bank are not publicly available. Both the credit revolver and term loan are set to mature in 2024.
Barclays also serves as an underwriter for these companies' bonds. It has been an underwriter for CoreCivic since 2013 and issued six bonds for the company totaling $1.4 billion as of the end of 2020. Similarly, Barclays has been underwriting GEO Group bonds since 2014 and had issued four bonds totaling $1.1 billion as of the end of 2020.
In July 2019, Barclays committed to not enter any new financing agreements with private prison companies, joining Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Truist Financial (then known as SunTrust), and other financial institutions that made similar commitments after facing public pressure.
However, in April 2021, Barclays was reportedly serving as the lead underwriter for a $634 million bond sale that would provide financing for GEO Group to build new prisons in Alabama. Following public pressure, Barclays pulled out of the bond agreement later in April. This move caused the bond sale to fall apart and has forced Alabama lawmakers to consider alternate funding sources, including requesting federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, as was reportedly discussed in a June meeting of Alabama lawmakers. In July, the Alabama Department of Corrections sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department asking for infrastructure projects related to prisons to be eligible for federal Covid relief funding.
- In April 2021, Barclays withdrew from its role as the lead underwriter of a $634 million bond sale that would finance prisons in Alabama that would be built and owned by GEO Group.
- In July 2019, Barclays committed to not enter any new financing agreements with private prisons, joining Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Truist Financial (which, at the time, was known as SunTrust Banks), and other financial institutions that made similar commitments after facing pressure from activists.