A Total Re-branding of UK Banks?

UK banking logos

Are The Old Times Coming Back?

Many or my clients harp back to the ‘good old days’ when business banks would give you a decision, your would speak to a contact who could lend your business the money etc etc.

Over the past few years it has been a case of, quote Bob Dylan, ‘the times they are a changin’. This is very true when it comes to how business lending is being done, but we are starting to see a renaissance with the names that are appearing on our high street.

How Good Is Your Memory

A few years back RBS announced that it was selling off part of it’s commercial banking business in the UK which will become known as ‘Williams & Glynn‘, a name we haven’t seen on the UK high street for over 30 years. A one off? Probably not.

Anyone who can remember 1995 will know that TSB was a mainstay of UK banking. Subsequent to that TSB was purchased by Lloyds, over time the brand gradually reduced surviving only in the name of the parent company and some subsidiaries. Lo and behold, in 2013 TSB returned.

This week we have seen a major announcement from HSBC that it will be re-branding it’s UK branch network, so maybe we will see a return of Midland, the return of the listening bank. For anyone that cares, I did once have to dress as the yellow griffin as part of my early career…

Why The Name Changes?

This is where it gets really interesting. Why are the banks using old names for their existing businesses?

Part of this, if you listen to the hyperbole, is that a clear definition needs to be drawn between retail operations and the more risky investment banking side. This is true, but could there be an even more revealing reason?

In March 2014 ‘The Telegraph‘ reported on the Global Consumer Banking Survey. At that time the figures showed that 37% of consumers had less trust in the banks, 15% had minimal or no trust. This was roughly double that of other developed nations. Take this quote from Omar Ali, UK banking and capital markets leader at EY;

“Confidence levels are stabilising, not increasing, and banks still have a lot of work to do. Confidence and trust in UK banks lags most markets globally”

Roll the clock back to when the consumer had more trust in the banks, who was around then?

Are we seeing a return to the old names because the new ones are tarnished? It would seem like there is some justification and maybe this is how trust will start to be rebuilt.

By Dave Farmer

Dave Farmer is founder of the award winning Lime Consultancy, a business finance specialist and commercial lending brokerage based in Sussex.

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